Court Jails Shop Owner Over 372.6 kgs Of Marijuana

The Convict, Saheed Ojomu

A shop owner, Saheed Ojomu, has been convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment, by a Lagos Federal High Court, for allowing one of his tenants to use his shop to warehoused 372.6 kilograms of Cannabis.

The 51 years old convict, whose shops are located at 1, Osho Street, Lagos Island, Lagos State, was given the jail-term, by Justice Daniel Osiagor, after he made ‘U-turn’ of his earlier not guilty plea, which he made while fist arraigned before the court sometimes in 2017. 

The convict was arrested with the banned substance found in one of his shops in March 31, 2017, by the operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

During his arrest and arraignment, he had claimed that the banned weeds belongs to one of his tenants named Sakiru, (now at large), and pleaded not guilty to the charge made against him by the NDLEA.

The charge against him read: “that you Saheed Ojomu, Male, Adult, 46 years old on or about the 31st day of March, 2017 at No. 1, Osho Street, Island, Lagos State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court being occupier and Manager of a Shop at No.1, Osho Street Lagos Island, unlawfully permitted same to be used by one Sakiru (now at large) for the purpose of storing and dealing in 372.6 kilograms of Cannabis Sativa, a narcotic drug similar to Cocaine, Heroin and LSD and thoereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 12 of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”

In the course of his trial, the prosecution hade called two witnesses and tendered some exhibits which have been admitted by the court.

However, at the resumed trial of the convict on Wednesday, his counsel, Mrs. Vivienne Ekwegh, informed the court that her client had decided to change his plea.

The position which was confirmed by the prosecutor, Mrs. N. J. Mamza.

With the new development, the presiding judge, Justice Osiagor, asked that the convict plea be retaken and facts of the charge be reviewed by the prosecutor.
Upon the reviewed the facts of the charge, the prosecutor, Mrs. Mamza, urged the court to convict and sentence the shop owner in accordance with the relevant laws that he was charged with.

But counsel to the convict, Mrs. Ekwegh, in her allucutor, described her client as a ‘victim of circumstances’, as he was unaware that his tenant warehoused the banned weed in his shop.

She therefore urged the court to award an option of fine in lieu of custodian sentence.

In his judgment, Justice Osiagor, sentenced the convict to five years imprisonment.

The judge however ordered the convict to pay a fine of N300, 000, 00. In addition to the monetary fine, the judge ordered the convict to perform three weeks non-custodian community service.