The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday has sentenced a man, Ifenna Emmanuel, to 20 years imprisonment for attempting to export 1.2 kilogrammes of cocaine to China.
Justice John Tsoho convicted Emmanuel on a one-count charge filed against him by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The convict was arrested at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport on July 1, 2012 during outward clearance of passengers to China.
He pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned on December 18, 2012, and was granted bail.
However, he jumped bail, and refused to attend trial for about a year until he was re-arrested in Port Harcourt through the help of his brother who stood surety for him.
His offence, NDLEA prosecutor Oigoga Ichakpa said, violated Section 11 (b) of the NDLEA Act of 2004.
Justice Tsoho ordered that the $1,000 recovered from the convict be forfeited to the Federal Government should there be no appeal against the judgment within 90 days.
He further directed that Emmanuel’s passport be withdrawn, and that all drugs recovered from him must be destroyed if the judgment is not appealed against.
Justice Tsoho faulted a medical report that was tendered by the defence counsel to show that the convict was seriously ill and was suffering from severe abdominal pain.
According to the judge, he had ordered the prison authorities to produce a medical report on Emmanuel’s health condition in June, but the order was not obeyed.
“The prison has not complied with that order as to the medical reports,” he said, adding that it was curious for the same prison to issue a medical report to the defence at the point of judgment.
The judge said the fact that the convict jumped bail, and was paid in dollars for the cocaine traficking, showed that he deserved no mercy despite claims that he has “a long standing history of severe upper abdominal pain.”
He, therefore, sentenced Emmanuel to 20 years jail term, which he said would take effect from the day he was re-arrested.
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