Court jails cocaine dealer for five years

By The Citizen
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A Federal High Court, Lagos, on Friday sentenced Emmanuel Obiora to five years imprisonment for importing 8.270kg of cocaine from Pakistan and offering same for sale in Nigeria.

Justice Okon Abang, in his judgment, indicted the prosecuting and defence lawyers in the case for allegedly concealing vital evidence to help the convict to escape justice.

'The court will never be part of such unwholesome conduct,' Abang said.

He convicted and sentenced Obiora to five years imprisonment for dealing in prohibited drugs and for concealing the genuine origin of the N14m proceed of the alleged crime.

He ordered that the five years jail terms for each of the four counts should run concurrently starting from Friday.

The judge ordered that the N14m proceeds of the alleged crimes be forfeited to the Federal Government.

He ordered the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Abu Ibrahim, to pay the money into the federation account and swear to a verifying affidavit, attaching a copy of the bank slip within seven days.

Obiora, who is in his mid-30s, was said to have between February and June 2009, conspired with Sam Egunibe to import the cocaine hidden in 13 cartons of tennis balls from Pakistan.

He was also accused of conspiring with a bureau de change operator, Mohammed Yau, to conceal the origin of the N14m proceeds of the crime.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, which prosecuted the case, had told the court that it arrested Obiora at Airforce Base in FESTAC, Lagos, on June 28, 2009.

He was said to have returned to Nigeria from Pakistan using the name - Dim Chogozie.

Abang, who relied on circumstantial evidence to convict Obiora, accused both the prosecuting and defence lawyers of colluding to help the convict to escape justice by withholding vital evidence in the case.

'The written address filed by the learned prosecuting counsel was of no help to the court,' the judge said.