A Federal High Court in Lagos State has convicted and sentenced a 49-year-old businessman, Celestino Kingsley, aka Okafor Kingsley Ikenna, to six years imprisonment for illegally exporting 9.40kg of cocaine.
Justice Daniel Osiagor handed down the jail term on Wednesday after Kingsley admitted committing the offence and pleaded guilty to the charge.
The convict was arraigned by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency on two counts of conspiracy and the unlawful export of the banned substance in a charge marked FHC/L/196c/2023.
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The prosecutor, Augustine Nwagu, told the court that the convict, sometime in March, conspired with one Chibuzor Okoye, who was said to be on the run, to commit the offence.
The prosecutor told the court that the convict was arrested on March 4, 2023, during the outward clearance of passengers of a Qatar Airways flight to India via Doha, at the new terminal 11 of the Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
According to the prosecutor, the offence committed is contrary to and punishable under Sections 14(b) and 11(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement A. Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The convict pleaded guilty to the charges, and following his guilty plea, the prosecutor urged the court to convict and sentence him according to the sections of the NDLEA Act he was charged with.
But his lawyer pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy in sentencing his client.
The lawyer urged the court to take into account his client’s timely guilty plea as a first-time offender, and that since his client was arrested, he had turned a new leaf, with a promise not to engage in any illegal acts.
He, consequently, pleaded with the court to grant his client an option of a fine instead of a jail term.
In his reply, the prosecutor admitted that the convict was a first offender without any previous conviction record.
Justice Osiagor, in his judgment, sentenced Kingsley to three years each for the two counts, adding that the jail term should run concurrently.
The judge, however, gave the convict an option of N2.5m fine on each of the counts and also ordered that the monetary option should run consecutively.