The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Friday convicted the founder and General Overseer of Seraphic and Sabbath Assembly, Lagos, High Priest Azuka Kenrick Nnodu, and two others for drug dealing.
Justice Akintayo Aluko convicted Nnodu (58) and his two co-defendants Udezuka Udoka (26) and Oyoyo Mary Obasi (40), following their ‘guilty’ plea to a six-count charge.
The trio was arraigned by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for conspiracy, procurement of persons to unlawfully export, unlawful export of 14.90 kilogrammes of Cannabis Sativa and 204 grammes of Methamphetamine and unlawful possession of the hard drugs.
Prosecution counsel, Abu Ibrahim alleged that they committed the offences with one Chisom, now at large, on February 9, 2023.
Ibrahim told the court that the defendants were arrested with the drugs at the NAHCO Export Shed, a Customs Point of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
The court heard that the offences contravened sections 14(b); 21(2)(d) and 20(1)(a) of the NDLEA Act, 2004, and were punishable under Sections 11(b) and 20(2(a) of the same Act.
All the defendants pleaded guilty.
Following their plea, Ibrahim reviewed the fact of the case and urged the court to convict and sentence the defendants in accordance with the NDLEA Act.
But the defendants’ counsel, Benson Ndakara expressed shock at the defendants’ guilty plea, saying he was “taken by surprise at their change of mind, after dissipating extra energy and time to prepare and file their various bail applications.
Nevertheless, Ndakara pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing the defendants, on the grounds that they were first-time offenders without any record of previous conviction.
Justice Aluko convicted the trio, but reserved judgment till an undisclosed date.
The judge remanded the defendants in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services, pending judgment.