50-year-old widow bags three years for hemp possession

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday sentenced a 50-year-old widow, Nwakpa Nwore, to a three-year-jail term over unlawful possession of cannabis.

Justice C.J. Aneke handed down the sentence after Nwoke had pleaded guilty to one count bordering on the offence.
The accused had been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency on September 11, 2014 at Isiu Village in the Ikorodu Area of Lagos State.

The NDLEA prosecutor, Mr. Orji Kalu, had narrated to the court how Nwore was caught in possession of nine sacks of Cannabis Sativa weighing 59.15 kilogrammes.

According to Kalu, the accused violated Section 11 (c) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap. 30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Upon her arraignment on October 10, 2014, the widow, who appeared in court without any legal representation, had promptly pleaded guilty.

At the resumed trial on Friday, a prosecution witness and a Superintendent of Narcotics with the NDLEA, Mr. Odede Lawrence, said, "On September 11 when the accused was arrested, two operatives of the NDLEA, Safianu Abdulsalam and Iluobe Frank, came to my office with nine sacks of a substance suspected to be Cannabis Sativa.

I conducted a preliminary test on the substance, which proved positive for Cannabis Sativa. I also weighed the substance and found it to be 59.15kg."

After tendering the nine sacks and other exhibits in court as evidence, the prosecutor urged the court to convict Nwore and sentence her accordingly.

Kalu said, "My Lord, in view of the plea of the accused person and all the exhibits tendered by the prosecution in this matter, we pray this honourable court to convict the accused person as charged and in line with Section 218 and 285(2) of the Criminal Procedural Act."

The judge consequently convicted the accused as charged.

While pronouncing the sentence, Aneke, said he was inclined to temper justice with mercy because the accused had pleaded guilty without wasting the time of the court and considering that she was a first offender.

The judge also said he believed the widow, who had been in detention since her arrest in September last year, would have learnt her lessons and was deserving of a second chance.

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