Twenty Ghanaian fishermen were found guilty of smuggling 13.670 kilograms of marijuana, also known as cannabis sativa, from Ghana to Nigeria and were each given a one-year prison sentence.
At a hearing at the Federal High Court in Lagos State on Thursday, August 4, Justice Nicholas Oweibo found them guilty of the charges of conspiracy and unlawful transportation of the drug. He then convicted them and sentenced them.
Francis Teye, Kweke Komel, Gad Adjah, Theophilus Tetteh, Kwesi Aboagye, Ekon Fynn, Kwamena Baah, Kwabina Adjei, Micheal Okutu, Isaac Kofi, Kweku Moko, Kwezi Adzi, and Kweku Mensah are among the fisherman who have been found guilty.
Others include Nana Kodwo, Isaac Yorsson, Otu Otipeseku, Joshua Huago, Michael Kofi, Ekon Bentum, and Kwesi Amissah.
The convicts were arrested with the drug conveyed from their country into the Nigerian territorial waters on January 14, 2022.
They were arraigned on two counts of conspiracy and unlawful transportation of the substance.
The prosecutor, Mr. Fingere Owen, told the court that the offences were contrary to and punishable under sections 11(b) and 14(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap. N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
The defendants pleaded guilty to the charges.
Following their guilty pleas, the prosecutor reviewed the facts of the case.
Owen also tendered some exhibits and urged the court to convict and sentence them in accordance with the sections they were charged with.
However, lawyers for the convicts, Mr. Uche Okoronkwo, who led Calistus Onyewueke, both of Minerva Legal Practice, told the court that all the defendants were first time offenders without previous criminal records.
Okoronkwo told the court that his clients were fishermen, who were engaged by a purported customer, who did not tell them the content of the bag.
Justice Oweibo sentenced them to one-year imprisonment each.
The judge also ordered that the sentence should commence from the date of their arrest.
He, however, ordered the convicts to pay the sum of N50,000 each in lieu of the sentence and ordered that the boat used in smuggling the banned substance be forfeited to the Federal Government.