A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday sentenced a 50-year-old widow, Nwakpa Nwore, to three years imprisonment for dealing in Cannabis Sativa, also known as Indian hemp.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke sentenced the accused after she had pleaded guilty to a one-count charge of drug trafficking preferred against her by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Agency reporters report that the accused was arraigned on Oct. 10, 2014 and had pleaded guilty to the charge.
Justice Aneke had then adjourned the case for a review of facts and judgment.
When the case was called on Friday, a prosecution witness, Mr Lawrence Odede, who is a Superintendent of Narcotics with the NDLEA, gave his testimony before the court.
“On Sept. 11, 2014 when the accused was arrested, two officers of the NDLEA, Mr Safianu Abdulsalam and Mr Iluobe Frank, came to my office with nine sacks of a substance suspected to be Cannabis Sativa.
“I conducted a preliminary test on the substance and it turned out to be Cannabis Sativa. I also weighed the substance and found it to be 59.15 kilograms,” Odede said.
He then tendered the nine sacks before the court as evidence and they were accordingly admitted and marked as exhibits.
The prosecutor, Mr Kalu Orji, urged the court to convict and sentence the accused accordingly.
“My Lord, in view of the plea of the accused and all the exhibits tendered by the prosecution in this matter, we pray this honourable court to convict her in line with Section 218 and 285(2) of the Criminal Procedural Act,” Orji said
Aneke, thereafter, convicted the accused as charged and sentenced her to three years imprisonment.
The judge said he was inclined to temper justice with mercy because the accused had pleaded guilty without wasting the time of the court and also considering the fact that she was a first offender.
The judge also said he believed that the widow, who had been in detention since her arrest in September 2014, deserved a second chance, as she would have learnt her lessons.
“This court is mindful of the evil effect of a hard drug such as Cannabis Sativa on the society, especially as regards the young and innocent members of the society.
“Consequently, the convict is hereby sentenced to three years imprisonment, starting from the day of her arrest,” Aneke said
The court also ordered the NDLEA to destroy the illegal substance, if there was no appeal against the judgment within 30 days.
NAN reports that the accused was arrested by operatives of the NDLEA, on Sept. 11, 2014 at Isiu Village in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State.
The prosecutor had told the court that Nwore was caught in possession of nine sacks of Cannabis Sativa weighing 59.15 kilogrammes, which she intended to sell to touts.
According to Kalu, the accused violated Section 11 (c) of the NDLEA Act Cap. 30, Laws of the Federation, 2004.