A Federal High Court in Lagos has convicted and sentenced a driver, Akinola Sulaiman to ten years imprisonment for the importation of 11 kilograms of hard drugs.
The presiding judge, Justice Babs Kuewumi, gave the verdict after upholding prosecution’s submissions on the charges against him.
According to National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, who is the prosecutor, the convict while plying Nigeria -Ghana route, on August 30, 2013, conveyed 1.3kg of Heroin neatly concealed in a big brown travelling bag with false bottoms, hidden in a Toyota Camry car with registration number JJJ 584 AE Lagos.
He was charged before the court on two counts of importation of 1.3 kilograms of heroin and 9.75 kilograms of Ephedrine, a substance similar to cocaine, heroin and LSD.
He was first arraigned before Justice Abang Okon, on November 6, 2013, who declined to grant him bail, on the ground that he may jump bail, despite the plea of not guilty.
Meanwhile, upon Justice Abang’s transfer, coupled with non-issuance of ‘fiat’ for him to complete the case, the convict’s trial started ‘De novo’ (fresh) before Justice Kuewumi.
During his retrial before Justice Kuewumi, the prosecutor called seven witnesses and tendered six exhibits, to prove the allegations against the convict.
In his defence, the convict who stands as only witnesses for himself cross-examines prosecutors witnesses.
At today’s verdict, convict’s counsel, Mr Tayo Oyetubo, in his allocator, prayed the court to consider the period spent in detention while the trial lasted in sentencing his client.
But the prosecutor, Mr Aliyu Abubakar, who was represented by Mr Denneys Owen, urged the court to discountenance the convict’s counsel plea and allow the full wrath of the law to take its place in sentencing the convict.
After listened to the submissions of parties, Justice Kuewumi pronounced that the prosecution had successfully proved its case against the convict beyond reasonable doubt
Justice Kuewumi, however, ordered that the convict’s jail terms will start to run from August 30, 2013, when he was first arrested.
The judge also ordered that the drugs seized from the convict be destroyed if there was no appeal against the judgment within the period stipulated by the law.