By OKOSUN OKHUELEIGBE
It was a case of one man’s food is another man’s poison at the premises of Federal High Court in Lagos as life sentence was handed over to a drug suspect and another a 25-year sentence for drug trafficking.
While the mother of the man who got life sentence wept profusely that her son was going to spend the rest of his life in prison, it was excitement galore and a sense of fulfilment at the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), as the Acting Chairman, Mrs Roli Bode-George commended the judge for a brilliant ruling saying the ruling reflects the criminal rating of drug offences in the country.
She commended the judiciary over the life sentence and twenty-five years imprisonments passed on two drug convicts by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia in Lagos.
Aluagwu Lawrence, a 32-year-old was caught with 220 grammes of cannabis, got life imprisonment with hard labour while Ameachi Igwe, a 37-year-old was found in possession of 2.7 grammes of cocaine and got 25 years.
According to Roli, “the sentences demonstrate the readiness of the judiciary to strictly apply the law on culprits. This is highly commendable and a motivating force for Nigeria’s anti-narcotics campaign. These provisions are there in the NDLEA Act and it is a positive development that the judiciary is taking the bull by the horn. It will further sensitize members of the public on the severity of drug trafficking”.
In delivering her judgement, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia dismissed the plea of Aluagwu Lawrence that he had no formal education and that the father divorced his mother when he was a little child. She said single parenting and lack of formal education is not an excuse for drug trafficking.
Aluagwu was, therefore, sentenced to life imprisonment. The judge also expressed concern over the second convict who was arrested while selling cocaine at the popular Mile 12 market in Lagos. Ameachi Igwe was therefore sentenced to 25 years with hard labour.
The convicts both pleaded guilty to unlawful possession and dealing in narcotics at the Federal High Court. NDLEA prosecutor, Barrister Jeremiah Aernan told the court that Ameachi Igwe was arrested on May 8, 2015 at about 1100hrs by NDLEA officers at Mile 12 Market where he was found with 2.7 grammes of powdery substance that tested positive for cocaine. The convict who is a night guard also sells cocaine at the market. He is single and hails from Ebonyi State. When asked to make allocutus he pretended to be deaf and dumb.
Aluagwu was arrested on 12 February 2015 with 220 grammes of dried weeds found to be cannabis under the bridge at Ojota, Lagos. He pleaded guilty blaming his circumstances on his lack of formal education and that the father abandoned him and the mother when he was a little child.