A Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State has convicted a 28-year-old mother of three for dealing on cannabis Sativa.
Justice Simon Amobeda while convicting the accused, said she had pleaded guilty.
She was then sentenced for one month without option of fine.
The sentence is to take effect from the day she was arrested. She was arrested on September 12, 2019 with 200 grams of the item.
The Judge disclosed that her husband abandoned her.
A senior lawyer, Attah Ochinke who was a former attorney general and Commissioner for Justice in the State pleaded on behalf of the accused.
“If the court commits her to prison for two months, what will happen to her three children? She needs to be reformed. Not just looking at her, at 28 years, I believe, not any of the children is up to ten years and whatever punishment meted on her will deprive the children of motherly/parental care.
“If she is sentenced to a long term of imprisonment, it will have repercussion on those in the society because the children who did not participate on what had happened will suffer.
“Mild sentence will afford her the opportunity to take care of the children, while at the same time save federal government cost to take care of her while in prison,” he said.
Consequently, Justice Amobeda recalled that when he was in Kebbi State, he delivered what look like similar judgment and handed over the convict to the Emir of Kebbi and the accused was reformed. That was a Moslem community.
“At this instance, the Pastor will counsel, reform and rehabilitate the convict. I will like her to go for spiritual counselling, this is an opportunity for her to repent from her sin and become reformed person.
“The law says, after a plea of guilt by an accused, the court will enter summary judgment. She has saved the time of the court and tax payer resources,” the judge held.
Speaking with our reporter shortly after the judgement, the Pastor Victor Ovart of Charismatic Renewal Ministries, said he was in the court to watch the proceedings. “I came to court frequently to hear the proceedings. We have a department in the Church for prison ministries.
“Sometimes, when the inmates complete their sentences, we undertake to rehabilitate them through support with a view to bringing them back to the society. The power of God transformed these people.
“For this instant case, we will look at where she is leaving because environment do affect people, if possible, we relocate her to a safe place, pray for her and provide the needed skill for her. We have a group in the Church that handles this,” he stated.
Also speaking, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) legal counsel, Vembe Emmanuel said “When the accused was arraigned, she pleaded guilty and the Judge give summary judgement.
“However, before such sentence is done, the suspect has the liberty to plead for mercy and that was what happened at this instance case. Some senior lawyers pleaded on her behalf and the Judge considered their pleads and gave a very mild sentence of one month from the day she was arrested, invariably she was going to be released.
“I wouldn’t want to say whether I am satisfied or not about the judgement but one thing is clear, I have gotten my conviction and that is paramount to me. All hands must be on deck to ensure that we sanitize the society of dugs activities because at the end, all of us will go back to the society,” he stated.