Wed. Jun 7th, 2023

Drug Baron Bags 7 Years Jail-term For Unlawful Cocaine Importation

The Convict, Obidike Onodyer

Drug Baron Bags 7 Years Jail-term For Unlawful Cocaine Importation

A drug baron, Obidike Onodyer, has been convicted and sentenced to seven years imprisonment, a Lagos Federal High Court, for unlawful importation of 485 grammes of Cocaine.

Justice Ayokunle Faji, who presided over the court, handed down the sentence on Onodyer, after a trial that lasted for about six years, when the convict decided to change his not guilty plea.

The convict, Onodyer, was arrested by Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on August 5, 2015 at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, during the outward clearance of perssengers on Royal Air Maroc from Brazil enroute  Casablanca to Lagos.

The anti-narcotic agency thhrough one of its prosecutor, Mrs Juliana Imaobong-Iraobuchi, subsequently filed a count charge against the convict for unlawful importation of the banned substance in a charge marked FHC/L/40c/15, dated September 29, 2015.

Following his arraignment, Obidike Onodyer, denied the allegation and pleaded not guilty to the count charge while he was granted bail by the court.

While on bail, Onodyer jumped bail and committed another offence by lying to the Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) and obtained another International Passport in place of the one confiscated on the court’s order.

As  the trial was proceeding, the convict  abandoned  his trial and the court consequently  revoked his bail when he was re-arrested  and was ordered to be  remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services, NCS in November 2018.

With the resumption of his trial in full gear after the revocation of his bail, Onodyer was said to have committed another offence by procuring fake medical certificate to apply for bail on medical ground, but the prosecutor was able to prove that the certificate was faked and forged.

Midway to the trial, Onodyer applied for a plea bargain, but this was vehemently opposed by the prosecutor, he then opted to change his plea from not guilty to guilty.

On 16, 2021, the convict, Obidike, changed his not guilty plea to guilty,  consequent, upon which the prosecutor  reviewed the facts of the case.

In reviewing the facts of the case, Iraobuchi, tendered ten exhibits in support of the prosecution case and urged the court to convict the defendant as charged.

The defendant’s counsel, Mr. Adebayo Onifade in his allocutors, urged the court to tender Justice with mercy in convicting his client, adding that the convict has become remorseful for his action, hence the change of plea. 

Onifade added that the convict has promised to turn a new leave and promised never to involve himself in any illegal act.

While sentencing the convict to seven years imprisonment, Justice Faji said the term should run from November 2018 when Onodyer’s  bail was revoked, 

The trial judge also ordered that the new International Passport which he fraudulently obtained should be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria. 

Justice Faji specifically directed the NDLEA to write the agency so that they can take necessary steps to ensure that the passport is not valid. 

The judge condemned the convict’s criminal acts, who only changed his plea after wasting the precious time of the court for six years. 

The Charge Against The Convict Reads:   “That you Obidike Onodyer, male , adult on  or about the 5th day of August, 2015 during the outward clearance of passengers on Royal Marroc Airline from Brazil through Casablanca to Nigeria at the ‘D’ Arrival Hall Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court, without lawful authority imported Cocaine weighing 485 grammes and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 11(a) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Act, Cap N 30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.