Acting chairman of the Nigerian Drugs Law Enforcement and Administration, NDLEA,
Mrs. Roli Bode-George has applauded the judiciary over the life sentence and 25-year imprisonment passed on two drug convicts by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia in Lagos.
The NDLEA boss said that the ruling reflects the criminal rating of drug offences in the country, even as the mother of one of the convicted wept uncontrollably.
Aluagwu Lawrence, 32-year-old, who was caught with 220 grammes of cannabis, got life imprisonment with hard labour while Ameachi Igwe, 37-year-old, who was found in possession of 2.7 grammes of cocaine, got 25 years also with hard labour.
“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 sensitise members of the public on the severity of drug trafficking,” Roli said.
In delivering her judgement, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia dismissed the plea of Aluagwu Lawrence that he be shown mercy because he had no formal education and that his 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 and subsequently sentenced him to life imprisonment.
The judge expressed concern over the second convict (Ameachi Igwe), who was arrested while selling cocaine at the popular Mile 12 market in Lagos, and therefore sentenced him to 25 years imprisonment with hard labour.
Following the judgment, Lawrence’s mother began to weep uncontrollably in the court premises while friends and relatives tried in vain to console her.
The convicts both pleaded guilty to unlawful possession and dealing in narcotics at the Federal High Court.
But the NDLEA prosecutor, Barrister Jeremiah Aernan, told the court that 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 a statement he pretended to be deaf and dumb.
Aluagwu Lawrence, 32, was arrested on February 12, 2015, with 220 grammes of dried weed found to be cannabis under the bridge at Ojota, Lagos.
He pleaded guilty blaming his circumstances on his lack of formal education and abandonment by his father, when he was a child.