Justice Gladys Olotu of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Tuesday sentenced Victor Mgbeobuna to seven years’ imprisonment for trafficking I.6 kilo grammes of heroine.
Delivering judgment, Olotu held that the prosecution was able to convince the court by proving the charge brought against the convict.
She said: “It is in the record before me that Victor Mgbeobuna contravened the NDLEA Act, having confessed to bringing into the country 1.6 kg heroine en route from Pakistan.
“The court does take judicial notice of the confessional statement of the offender and all other exhibits that tend to support the allegation.
“In view of the admission of the act by the accused person, the court finds him guilty as charged and convicted of the offence.
“In the circumstance, the accused person is sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.
“It is therefore ordered that the seized substance be returned to the NDLEA custody for destruction.”
In a related development, Olotu sentenced Brazil-based Okechukwu Orieukwu to two years’ imprisonment for unlawful traffic in 250 kilogrammes of cocaine.
According to the judge, Orieukwu got a lower sentence because the court believed a syndicate coerced him into engaging in the act.
She said: “I have read the confessional statement of the accused person as well as studied closely his oral testimony and seem to be convinced that Orieukwu was actually coerced and threatened by a group to commit the act.
“It is as the result of that his counsel, Mr. J.O. Kenkong, drew the attention of the court to Section 32 of the Criminal Code Act.”
The section deals with criminal responsibility.
The section exonerates an offender who commits an unlawful action to save himself from death.
The judge further held that having agreed to transact the illicit business without showing evidence that security agencies were alerted, “you become liable and would not be set free.
“It is clear that you have shown physical remorse from the way you weep like a baby.
“Nonetheless, you are found guilty of the offence.”
The prosecutor, Sadatu Mark, told the court that the convict swallowed 18 raps of cocaine out of the 120 raps found in his possession.
Mark said Orieukwu was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja in April on board an Ethiopian Airline en route for Brazil.
Pleading for leniency on behalf of the convict, Kenkong said his client “is the only child of his parents and has a wife and five children”.
He said: “My Lord, the convict has persistently said that he was threatened with death should he refuse to embark on the trip with the substance.
“My Lord, it is pertinent to state that it was my client who reported himself to the officials of the NDLEA at the airport, and since then he has supported (cooperated) in the investigation.
“I therefore plead for mercy of the court to rely on Section 32 of the Criminal Code Act in sentencing him.
“Maybe a caution or one year’ imprisonment to serve as deterrent.”
The two offences carry a maximum of life imprisonment.