On Friday, the Federal High Court in Lagos found 51-year-old Nigerian businessman Uchegbu Obi, who is based in Qatar, guilty and gave two other people five years in prison for smuggling 38.5 kg of tramadol.

Alongside Obi, two other convicts, Usman Inda, 48, and Sani Salisu, 48, were also sentenced.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency had preferred charges against the prisoners, conspiracy and drug trafficking, on which they were arraigned.

Following their guilty plea to the charge brought against them, Justice Deinde Dipeolu imposed the jail sentence on the three individuals.

At the time of their arraignment, the accused individuals were apprehended on December 30, 2023, at the Cargo Shed of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Domestic Wing, Ikeja, Lagos, during the outward clearance of cargo to Kano on Max Airline, according to the prosecutor, Mr. Augustine Nwagu.

Nwagu informed the court that the prisoners had planned to traffic 38.50 kg of tramadol and 250 mg of a psychoactive substance resembling heroin with two at-large individuals, Alkaseem Kurah and one Jamilu.Section 20 (2) (a) of the NDLEA Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 penalised the offences, he claimed, and they violated Sections 14(b) and 20(1)(a).

In spite of this, the prisoners entered guilty pleas and acknowledged committing the offences.

Along with the exhibits they had tendered and their plea, the prosecutor reviewed the facts of the offences following the guilty plea and asked the judge to find them guilty and sentence them in line with Section 274(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

Nevertheless, following his pleading for mercy, Benson Ndakara, the convicts’ attorney, implored the court to grant his clients a fine option rather than a custodian sentence.

In his ruling, Justice Dipeolu sentenced the defendants to five years in prison for each of them, but he also mandated that they pay N3 million as a fine in addition to their jail sentence.

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