A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday sentenced to four years imprisonment an awaiting trial inmate, Osaro Egberamwen, who organised an Indian hemp smuggling operation from his cell in the Ikoyi Correctional Centre (Ikoyi Prison).
Egberamwen, a.k.a. Osas, contacted one Perpetual Sixtus Okpa via Facebook and successfully hired him to smuggle the banned drug into the prison.
Okpa, a murder suspect, bagged four months imprisonment for his role in the operation.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arraigned the duo before Justice Ayokunle Faji sometime in 2020 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, Mr Ichakpa Aigoga, contravened sections 14(b) and 11(c) of the NDLEA Act, 2004.
Egberamwen and Okpa pleaded not guilty.
During the trial, the prosecutor told the court that Egberamwen, on September 24, 2020, while in custody of Nigerian Correctional Services (NCos) awaiting trial for another criminal offence, contacted and hired Okpa on Facebook, to smuggle the said weed into the NCoS facility.
The court heard that prior to the hiring of Okpa, Egberamwen contacted and hired one Nwachukwu Amara Grace, on Facebook in June 2020, who smuggled 1.02 kilogrammes of Indian hemp into his cell at the Ikoyi remand facility.
Grace was convicted and sentenced to three months imprisonment with an option of N50,000 fine, following her arraignment and guilty plea before a Federal High Court in Lagos on August 28, 2020.
The court also heard that Egberamwen is a murder suspect in another case.
It was alleged that in 2017, he strangled to death an Uber cab driver named Alex, fled with the car – a KIA Rio – to Delta State, where it was sold off.
Egberamwen was said to have committed the murder to raise money for his return to his hometown in Edo State for a new start in life.
Following the testimony of and exhibits tendered by the prosecution witnesses, Justice Faji convicted and sentenced the duo on the two counts.
The jail terms, according to Justice Faji, commences from the date of their arrest.