Sunday, 15 January 2017

Convict drags NDLEA to Appeal Court over life sentence

A 32 year-old drug convict, Aluagwu Lawrence, of Iju Ishaga area of Lagos State, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for possessing 220 grammes of cannabis, has taken the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to the Court of Appeal in contention of the sentence awarded him at the Federal High Court.
In response to the motion of appeal, the NDLEA at the weekend filed its brief of argument and March 27, 2017 was fixed for the commencement of the argument of the motion of appeal. The appellant counsel, Barrister Vincent Nwanna, in his submission, stated that the sentence by the Federal High Court on his client for possessing 200 grammes of cannabis is excessive and should be reviewed by the Appeal Court.

However, the NDLEA counsel, Barrister Jeremiah Aernan said that the Agency has a superior argument because the convict pleaded guilty before the Federal High Court and that the NDLEA Act does not differentiate between quantities of drugs found on dealers.

Meanwhile the Lagos command of the NDLEA arrested 274 suspected drug dealers in 2016 and successfully won the conviction of two hundred and twelve (212) drug dealers comprising 205 males and seven females. This is the highest conviction recorded by the Lagos command. The convicts got various jail terms including life imprisonment with hard labour.

However, one Joy Amah, a 34 year old caught with 45.2kg of cannabis, was convicted and pardoned by Justice Shagari on the ground that she was five months pregnant and had spent three months in custody.

Chairman and Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd) who commended the Lagos command for securing 212 convictions in a year, said that the Agency is strategisingon how to tackle the drug problem in the State.

“The Agency seized more drugs and won more convictions in 2016 in Lagos. I commend the prosecuting counsel for winning 212 convictions last year.

A total of sixteen thousand, five hundred and seventy-one (16,571.289 kgs) of narcotic drugs were seized by the Lagos command. While two hundred and twelve (212) drug dealers were convicted last year, one hundred and forty (140) cases were pending at the Federal High Court as at December 31, 2016. This is a clear indication that the drug problem is huge” Abdallah stated.

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