The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has sentenced 20 Ghanaian fishermen to one-year imprisonment for trafficking marijuana, popularly called cannabis sativa, from Ghana to Nigeria.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo convicted the men following their plea of guilty to a two-count charge of conspiracy and unlawful transportation of 13.670 kilogrammes of the substance, filed against them by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The convicts are: Francis Teye; Kweke Komel; Gad Adjah; Theophilus Tetteh; Kwesi Aboagye; Ekon Fynn; Kwamena Baah, Male, Adult, Kwabina Adjei; Micheal Okutu, Male, Adult, Isaac Kofi, Male, Adult, Kweku Moko; Kwezi Adzi and Kweku Mensah.
Others are Micheal Kofi; Ekon Bentum; Kwesi Amissah; Joshua Huago; Otu Otipeseku; Isaac Yorsson and Nana Kodwo.
Prosecution counsel Mr. Fingere Dinneys Owen said the men were arrested with the drugs on January 14, 2022, on Nigerian territorial waters.
Owen said the offence contravened Sections 11(b) and 14(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act, 2004.
Following their plea, their counsel Mr. Uche Okoronkwo made an allocutus, praying for leniency.
He said the defendants were engaged by a purported customer, who did not tell them the content of the bags they carried on their boat.
Uche prayed the court to consider the option of a fine instead of a custodial sentence.
IJustice Oweibo, after confirming from the prosecution that the convicts had no precious conviction record, sentenced them to one-year imprisonment each.
The judge also ordered that the period of convicts’ sentence commence from the date of their arrest, January 14, 2022.
The judge, however, ordered the convicts to pay the sum of N50, 000, each in place of the sentence.
He forfeited to the Nigerian government, the boat used in smuggling the banned substance.