The Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday sentenced an awaiting trial inmate to four years in prison for organising an Indian hemp smuggling operation from his cell in the Ikoyi Correctional Centre.
Osaro Egberamwen, also known as Osas, contacted one Perpetual Sixtus Okpa via Facebook and successfully hired him to smuggle the banned drug into the prison.
Mr Okpa, however, got a four-month sentence for his role in the operation.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arraigned the duo before Ayokunle Faji last year on a two-count charge of conspiracy and unlawful dealing in 240 grammes of Cannabis sativa, popularly called Indian hemp
The offences, according to the prosecutor, Ichakpa Aigoga, contravened sections 14(b) and 11(c) of the NDLEA Act, 2004.
Messrs Egberamwen and Okpa pleaded not guilty.
During the trial, the prosecutor told the court that Mr Egberamwen, on September 24, 2020, while in the custody of Nigerian Correctional Services (NCos) awaiting trial for murder, contacted and hired Mr Okpa via Facebook to smuggle the banned substance into the prison.
Prior to hiring Mr Okpa. Mr Egbetamwen had also contacted and hired another Facebook contact, Nwachukwu Amara Grace, in June 2020. The lady smuggled 1.02 kilogrammes of Indian hemp into his cell at the Ikoyi Prison.
Ms Grace was convicted in August last year and sentenced to three months in prison with an option of N50,000 fine, after she pleaded guilty to the act.
The court learnt that Mr Egberamwen’s murder case involved an incident in 2017 where he allegedly strangled to death an Uber cab driver named Alex. The accused fled with the car – a KIA Rio – to Delta State, where it was sold.
Mr Egberamwen was said to have committed the murder to raise money to return to his hometown in Edo State where he planned to start a new life.
Following the testimony of and exhibits tendered by the prosecution witnesses, the judge convicted and sentenced the duo on the two counts.
The jail terms, according to the judge, begin from the date of their arrest.
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