A 56-year-old woman and mother of four, Modinat Owolabi, was on Tuesday convicted and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for cocaine trafficking.
Owolabi was convicted by Justice Rilwan Aikawa sitting at the Federal High Court in Lagos.
She was arraigned on one count by the National Drug Laws Enforcement Agency.
She pleaded guilty to the charge. While reviewing the facts of the case, the prosecuting counsel for the NDLEA, Mr. Ibrahim Abu, told the judge that Owolabi was arrested on May 19, 2017 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja.
He said Owolabi was found in illegal possession of 330 grammes of cocaine during the outward clearance of a Qatar Airways flight to Saudi Arabia.
Abu told the judge that she acted contrary to Section 11(b) of the NDLEA Act, Cap. N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and was liable to punishment under the same Act.
In proof of the case, Abu tendered several items as exhibits, including Owolabi’s harmonised ECOWAS passport numbered 1808098653 and an e-ticket.
Other items tendered as exhibits and admitted by the court in evidence against Owolabi included three confessional statements, which she volunteered to the anti-narcotics agency; and a pouch containing the 330g of cocaine, among others.
Justice Aikawa pronounced Owolabi guilty as charged by the NDLEA.
Her lawyer, Morenike Ogunleye, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing her, stating that she was a first offender.
“My Lord, the convict is a first-time offender, and she is sober. She is a mother of four children, who is single-handedly taking care of them, as she has separated from her husband.
“In sentencing her, I urged My Lord to consider Section 416(2)(b)(d) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015,” Ogunleye pleaded.
After being told by the prosecutor that the offence carry life imprisonment, Justice Aikawa held, “I have listened to the plea made on her behalf by the counsel, and also listened to the prosecutor that she has no record of crime.
“I am balancing; I have to consider both her plea and what the law says about the crime.
“Consequently, I hereby sentence her to 10 years imprisonment, starting from the day of her arrest.”