Nigerian footballer jailed for cocaine peddling

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A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday sentenced one Umeh Henry to two years imprisonment for being in unlawful possession of cocaine.

Shortly before the pronouncement, the convict, while pleading with the court to temper justice with mercy, said he was a professional footballer based in Brazil.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency had, last week Thursday, brought Henry before Justice Mohammed Idris on the allegation that he was found in unlawful possession of 15 grammes of cocaine. The prosecutor, Mr. Vembe Emmanuel, had told the court that he was arrested by NDLEA operatives on October 6 last year.

He was said to have been apprehended during the inward clearance of the Emirate Airlines from Brazil via Dubai at the E-arrival hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

The agency charged him with one count bordering on the offence against the provisions of Section 11(c) of the NDLEA Act, Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

The convict immediately pleaded guilty to the offence.

At the resumed trial on Wednesday, Vembe, after reviewing the facts of the case, prayed the court to convict Henry and sentence him accordingly.

“My Lord, in view of the plea of the accused person and the evidence before this hounourable court, we urge your Lordship to convict the accused in line with the provisions of sections 218 and 285 of the Criminal Procedure Act,” Vembe submitted.

Idris consequently convicted Henry of the crime as prayed by Vembe.

The defence counsel, Chief Benson Ndakara, however pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in pronouncing the sentence.

Ndakara urged the court to note that Henry was contrite and had without wasting the time of the court and tax payers’ money pleaded guilty to the offence.

The lawyer also urged the court to note that the 15 grammes of cocaine found on Henry was for his personal use rather than for sale.

In his own allocutus, Henry himself told the court that he took to using hard drug to address certain problems that he was dealing with. He added that a friend had recommended it to him.

In his judgment, Idris said he was pleased that the convict had voluntarily owned up to the crime without waiting for the court to find him out.

The judge however counselled the convict on the evil effect of hard drug.

“I’m happy that your story was constant and that you did not use it for commercial purposes.

“I like it that you had said the truth and God will forgive you. But don’t take drug anymore; any relief it gives you is just temporary.

“So, when you get out of jail don’t use it again,” Idris said.

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