Pharmacist, Trader Jailed for Drug Trafficking

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A Federal High Court sitting, Lagos, today, convicted and sentenced a pharmacist, Mr Geoffrey Ezeukwu and a trader, Mr Moses Ajibor to three years and two years imprisonment each, for illegal dealing 200 kilogrammes of Ephedrine .

Justice Saliu Saidu, after reviewing the facts of the case today, convicted the defendants on one count each out of the five count and handed down a three years and two years  imprisonment on each of the defendants after the conclusion of their trial.

By a five count amended charge filed by the NDLEA, the two defendants who are now convicts  were  alleged of conspiracy, unauthorized dealing in banned hard drugs ,unlawful distribution of the hard drug and illegal diversion of the said hard drug.

Following the conviction of the two defendants, their counsel, Mr Damian Dodo, (SAN) and Professor Fabian Ajogwu (SAN) in their alocutors, urged the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing of the defendants.

The  counsel also urged the court to take cognisance of the fact that the convicts are first time offenders with no record of previous crime.
Dodo (SAN), in his submission, stated  that the convicts are the sole bread winners of their respective families and that the second convict who is a practising pharmacist has contributed immensely in providing affordable healthcare to  the Nigeria populace.

He therefore, urged the court to impose a light a custodian sentences on the convicts.

Responding, the prosecution led by Mr Joseph Ngbona Sunday, the NDLEA’s Director of Legal, told the court that there is no criminal records of the convicts. He however, told the court to take cognisance of the nature of the offence and the alarming rate that drug related offences are increasing in our society.

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Sunday further urged the court to grant an axillary order directing the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, PCN, to take further  action against the second convict,  Geoffrey Ezeukwu, who he said was a practicing Pharmacist.
Justice Saidu in his judgement, said: “I have listen to the alocutors of the counsel on behalf of convicts and the submission of the prosecutor as to the fact that there is no criminal records of the convicts”.
The trial  judge said that haven convicted the defendants on one count each out of the five count charge, ” I hereby sentence the first convict  Moses Ajibor to three years imprisonment and the second convict,  Geoffrey  Ezeukwu to two year imprisonment.

It would be recalled that men of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, had sometimes in 2012 filed a five count charge against the convicts.

In the amended charge, the two convicts  were alleged of conspiracy, unauthorised dealing in banned hard drugs,unlawful distribution of the hard drug and illegal diversion of the said hard drug.
The five count charge reads as follows :
Count one: “That you Moses Ajibo, Male, Adult and Geoffrey Ezeukwu, Male, Adult, between April and June 2012 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired with each other to distribute for purposes other than which lawful authority was granted, 200 Kilogrammes of Ephedrine a substance iisted in the second schedule of the NDLEA Act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 14(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Count two: “That you Moses Ajibo, Male, Adult Male, Adult, between April and June 2012 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court engaged in distribution for purposes other than that which lawful authority was granted, 200 Kilogrammes of Ephedrine a substance listed in the second schedule of the NDLEA Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation 2004 knowing that the substance is to be used for illicit production of narcotic drugs and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 20(1) (f) and punishable under Section 20(2)(a) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

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Count three: “That you Geoffrey Ezeukwu, Male, Adult between April and June 2012 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court aided or abetted Moses Ajibo, to distribute for purposes other than that which lawful authority was granted, 200 Kilogrammes of Ephedrine a substance listed in the second schedule of the NDLEA act knowing that the substance is to be used in the manufacture of narcotic drugs and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 14(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

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Count four: “That you Moses Ajibo, Male, Adult and Geoffrey Ezeukwu, Male, Adult between April and June 2012 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired with each other to divert 300 Kilogrammes of Ephedrine by delivering them to a place other than the premises of Marley Shree Pharmaceuticals Company Limited, Plot 83 Zungeru Road, Sabongari, Kano for which lawful authority was granted in contravention of the provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1989 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 20(1)(a) and punishable under Section 14(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Count five: “that you Moses Ajibo , Male, Adult and Geoffrey Ezeukwu, Male, Adult between April and June 2012 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court without lawful authority diverted 300 Kilogrammes of Ephedrine by delivering them to a place other than the premises of Marley Shree Pharmaceuticals Company Limited, Plot 83 Zungeru Road, Sabongari, Kano for which lawful authority was granted in contravention of the provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1989 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 20(1)(a) and punishable under Section 20(2Ma) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004”.

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