Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
A South Africa returnee, Raji Issa Adio, has been convicted and sentenced to a 38 year prison term by a Lagos Federal High Court for trafficking 5.10 kilogrammes of banned hard drugs.
The 43-year-old convict bagged the jail term after the court found him guilty on a three-count charge of conspiracy and unlawful possession of 5.10 kilogrammes of heroin, charges brought against by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The convict, who had pleaded not guilty, was first arraigned before the court on the charges on December 7, 2017.
During the trial, NDLEA prosecutor Mrs Juliana Imaobong Iroabuchi called witnesses and tendered 13 exhibits, including the banned drugs seized from the convict, his international passport, test analysis of the seized drugs and foreign currencies.
The convict, while being led by his counsel, Chief Lilian Omotunde, defended himself against the charge.
Delivering judgment on the charges, Justice Chuka Obiozor held that: “The prosecution has been able to establish all the allegations as contained in the charge against the convict beyond reasonable doubt.”
The judge consequently sentenced the convict to 15 years imprisonment on count one and three, sentencing him to eight years on count two.
Justice Obiozor pronounced that the convict’s jail terms will start counting from September 3, 2017 when he was arrested .
The judge, ordering that the the jail terms be served concurrently, however gave the convict an option of N1.5 million on count one and three respectively, but no option for a fine on count two.
The NDLEA, in a charge marked FHC/L/429c/2017, stated that the convict was arrested on September 3, 2017, during the inward clearance of South Africa Airway flight to Lagos at the E-Arrival Hall of the Murtala Mohammad international Airport, Ikeja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, adding that the convict, without lawful authority, knowingly possessed 5.10 kilogrammes of heroin which were concealed under his two traveling bags in form of false buttons.
Adio was also said to have on September 2, 2017, while in South Africa, conspired with one Segun and Eddie, both residents in South Africa and now at large, to import the banned drug to Lagos.
The offences, according to the prosecutor, are contrary to and punishable under Section 11(d), 11 (a) and 14 (b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.