Federal High Court in Lagos

Federal High Court in Lagos has sentenced a Pakistan citizen, Iftikhar Arslan, to a jail term of 18 months for importing 25.4 kilogrammes of heroin into Nigeria.

Justice C.J. Aneke, who passed the sentence, said it would run from April 5, 2014, when the convict was arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.

Arslan’s sentence followed his plea that he was a medical student and did not know how the illicit substance got into his luggage

According to the NDLEA, the 19-year-old had, on April 5, 2014, been caught in possession of the said quantity of heroin at the E-Arrival Hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, during the inward clearance of a Qatar Airways from Doha.

He had been charged to court and arraigned on one count bordering on violation of Section 11 (a) of the NDLEA Act, Cap N30, Laws of the Federation 2004.

The convict had pleaded guilty to the charge.

While reviewing the facts of the case, the NDLEA prosecutor, Mr. Fingere Dinneys, said, “My Lord, the facts of the case are as contained on the face of the charge.”

To buttress his case, the prosecutor tendered various exhibits including the convict’s confessional statement to the agency, the bulk of the drug, and the certificate of the drug analysis.

Upon the admittance of the various exhibits in evidence against the convict by the court, Dinneys said, “My Lord, in view of the plea of the accused and the exhibits tendered before the court, we pray your Lordship to convict him as charged and sentence him in line with the provisions of section 281 and 285 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004.”

Aneke accordingly pronounced Arslan guilty of the offence.

In his own allocutus, Arslan begged the judge to be lenient with him, saying he had no relative in Nigeria.

He said: “I beg you, my Lord, have mercy on me. I don’t know how the drug entered into my bag. I am a medical student, my educational career is destroyed. I don’t have anybody here, my people are in Pakistan.”

Aneke sentenced him to 18 months jail term without any option of fine.

He ordered the NDLEA to destroy the hard drug recovered from the convict if the judgment was not challenged in 30 days.

By Pita Ochai


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