By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
For unlawful dealing in 10.6 kilogrammes of Cannabis Sativa, popularly called Marijuana, a Federal High Court, Lagos has convicted two women, Ruth Alufiu and Ugonma Queenette.
The trial Judge, Daniel Osiagor, convicted them after they were found guilty on one count charge brought against them by the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The two convicts, who are in their 60s, were separately arraigned before court. Alufiu was arraigned before the court in a charge marked FHC/L/212c/2021, for unlawfully dealing on 600 grams of Cannabis Sativa’s seedlings.
The second convict Queenette (a.k.a. Anya, of Animal Kingdom, Zango area of Seme Border Badagry, Lagos State) was arraigned in a charge marked FHC/L/198c/2021, for dealing in 10 kilogrammes of Cannabis Sativa, without authorisation.
Following their guilty plea to the charge, the prosecutor, Mr. Adebayo Femi, prayed the court to sentence them according to section 19 of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap 30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
However, the convicts’ counsel, Mr. Prosper Ojakovo and Mr. G. Okaka separately pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy in sentencing their clients.
Ojakovo told the court that his client (Alufiu) was using the Cannabis Sativa seedling to feed her pets.
But the prosecutor countered the claim and told the court that the convict admitted in her confessional statement that she was mixing the seedlings with hot drink and sell same to the public.
Also, Okaka prayed the court to be lenient with his client (Queenette), saying that she is a victim of circumstances. In exonerating his client of the allegation, Okaka told the court that a neighbour called her to assist him in getting his goods seized by the men of Nigerian Customs Services (NCS) and that it was during the process that she was apprehended.
However, the prosecutor told the court that the convict was arrested when she insisted on taking the banned drug after being told by the NCS officials that the consignment was not Ankara material as she was made to believe, but Indiana hemps.
Justice Osiagor therefore sentenced Alufiu to a month imprisonment with an option of N200, 000 fine, while the second convict (Queenette) was sentenced to six months imprisonment with an option of N50, 000.
The judge also ordered that both the seized seedlings and Indian Hemps be destroyed by the NDLEA if there is no appeal against the judgment.