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Drug Importation: Brazilian-Based Nigerian Gets Seven-Year Jail Term

By Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos

Justice Ayotunde Faji of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria, has sentenced a Brazil-based Nigerian, Nogueria Achiagonye Solomon Onyinye, to seven years imprisonment for unlawful importation of 1.5 kilograms of Cocaine.

Justice Faji arrived at the decision after finding Onyinye guilty of the offence and convicted him accordingly in the charge made against the convict by the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

It would be recalled that Onyinye who had changed his plea from not guilty to guilty was arrested by the operatives of the NDLEA, on January 8, 2018, at the arrival hall of the  Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, during the inward clearance of passengers of Royal Air Maroc Flight AT555 from Brazil via Casablanca Morocco with the banned drug.

The convict, who holds a Cape Verde international passport, had on March 13, 2018, pleaded not guilty to a count charge of unlawful importation of the said banned drugs into the country, and was admitted to bail in various terms.

But on May 18, 2019, the convict through his lawyer told the court of his intention to change his plea and Justice Faji ordered that the charge be read to him for his plea to be retaken.

After the charge was read to him on May 18, 2019, the convict pleaded guilty to the charge and the court adjourned for review of facts of the matter by the prosecuting agency.

In his judgment, Justice Faji sentenced the convict to seven years imprisonment and ordered that the seized drug be destroyed if there is no appeal against the judgment after 90 days.

The judge equally directed the NDLEA to inform the Nigeria Immigration Services of the convict's conviction. 

Besides, Justice Faji asked the Immigration Services not to issue any travel passport to the convict until he get 'prerogative of mercy' from the Nation's President, according to Section 30 of the NDLEA Act.

Justice Faji also ordered the NDLEA to confiscate the Cape Verde International passport seized from the convict.

The term of the convict's conviction according to the judge shall commence from the date of his arrest, which was January 8, 2018.

The charge against Onyinye reads: “That you Nogueria Achiagonye Solomon Onyinye, Male, Adult on or about the 6th day of January, 2018 during the inward clearance of passengers on Royal Air Maroc Flight AT555 from Brazil via Casablanca Morocco at the Arrival Hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Ikeja, Lagos, without lawful Authority Imported 1.5 Kilogrammes of Cocaine, a Narcotic Drug and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 11(a) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004."

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