Court Sinks Sailing Hemp Dealers in Lagos

Ladipo Sanusi/
Three men trafficking drugs in a boat named ‘My Destiny’ actually had a date with their destiny in front of a Federal High Court Judge in Lagos today.
Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo convicted and sentenced the men to five years imprisonment, each, for unlawfully dealing in 559 kilograms of Indian hemp also known as marijuana.
The convicts, Akiti Narteh, 33; Jelili Anu, 25; and Kunniji Damilola, 24, bagged the jail term after the Court found them guilty of 2-count charge of unlawful dealing in the banned weed and illegal transportation of such.
During the arraignment, the prosecutor, Mr. Jerry Aernan, had told the Court that the convicts were arrested by operatives of the National Drug Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on February 5, 2017, on Ikare Waterway, Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos.
Aernan also told the Court that the convicts were conveying the said banned weed in a fiber boat named ‘My Destiny’.
He said the offence committed by the convicts was contrary to and punishable under sections 11(b) and 11(c) of NDLEA Act, Cap. N30, Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The three men pleaded not guilty when they were first arraigned on June 8, 2017. But their bail applications were not granted.
They, however, changed their pleas, when the matter came up on September 28, 2017.
Upon the change of pleas, the Court on Monday, ordered the prosecutor, Mr. Aernan to review the fact of the case, which he did on Monday.
Apart from reviewing the fact of the case, the prosecutor also tendered the 559 kilograms of the banned weed among others which were admitted as exhibits.
After reviewing the fact of the case and tendering of exhibits, Justice Oguntoyinbo pronounced them guilty as charged.
Their lawyer, Mr. Prosper Ojakovo, pleaded with the Court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing his clients.
Ojakovo told the Court that his clients were sea transporters, who conveyed the banned weed for a customer who did not disclose the contents of the bags to them.
Despite the plea, the Judge sentenced them to five years imprisonment on each of the counts.
She ordered that the convicts’ sentence starts to count from the date of their arrest and will run concurrently.