Nigeria: Bricklayer jailed for selling Indian Hemp in prison

The Federal High Court in Lagos has sentenced a 31-year-old bricklayer, Rasheed Bolaji, to two years imprisonment, for selling Cannabis Sativa, in the Ikoyi custodial centre of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS).

Justice Abimbola Awogboro sentenced Bolaji on Friday following his guilty plea to a two-count charge of trafficking and unlawful dealing in 5.3 kilograms of Indian hemp brought against him by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Prosecution counsel M. I. Erondu, who reviewed the facts of the case, said Bolaji was arrested with the banned substance, which he was selling, on December 2, 2022, at the NCoS’ Ikoyi Centre.

She said the offence contravened and was punishable under sections 11(b) and 11 (c) of the NDLEA Act, 2004.

Erondu prayed the court to sentence the bricklayer under sections 274(2) and 375 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

But Bolaji pleaded for mercy, saying it was the first time he was selling the banned weed. He promised not to engage in any crime if given a second chance.

His lawyer, Bolanle Kolawole, also told the court that the defendant was a bricklayer and pleaded for mercy in sentencing him.

She also prayed the court to award an option of a fine instead of a custodial sentence.

Justice Awogboro sentenced the convict to two years imprisonment without an option of a fine.

In a related case, the judge also sentenced a father of five, Olusesi Yusuf, to 600 hours of community service, for illegal dealing and possession of some banned substances.

The 41-year-old, according to the prosecutor M. I. Erondu, was arrested on March 6, 2023, 2023 at Felix Ogaga Close, Aso Oke, Ajah Lagos State, where he was selling the banned substances.

The banned drugs found on the convict when arrested, according to the prosecutor, included 15.5 grams of Cocaine; 14 grams of Indian hemp; and 14 grams of Swinol, a psychotropic substance.

The prosecutor told the court that the offences contravened sections 19 and 11(c) of the NDLEA Act, 2004.

Yusuf, an air conditioner repairer, pleaded guilty to the charge.

His lawyer, Oke Ojakovo, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy. He said Yusuf was a first-time offender. He was also an air conditioner repairer with five children and a pregnant wife, adding that he was misled in selling the substances by his friends.

The lawyer told the court that the convict had learnt his lesson in the hard way. He prayed the court to award an option of a fine instead of a custodial sentence.

Justice Awogboro sentenced the convict to 600-hour community service. She ordered that all the substances recover from him be destroyed by the NDLEA.

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