A middle-aged man, Bayo Christopher, is to spend the next 17 years behind bars for trafficking in Indian hemp, a federal high court in Minna, the Niger State capital, has ruled.

Christopher was arrested by men of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Niger State for trafficking in 681 kilogrammes of the banned drug.

Two years out of the 17-year sentence were for contempt of court, according to Justice Sabiu Yahuza, who found him guilty of the two-count charge for which he was arraigned.

The prosecution had told the court that the accused was first arrested two years ago, but was granted bail when his counsel pleaded with the court that he would present himself anytime he was expected to appear.

The prosecution said efforts to re-arrest him proved abortive, until men of the NDLEA were informed that he was at the mechanic village in Minna.

Working on the information, the judge said the convict was apprehended and brought to court to face justice.

Christopher pleaded guilty, but his plea for leniency was not taken by the court, resulting in his sentence to a 17-year imprisonment with hard labour.

Commenting on the judgment, the state commander of the NDLEA, Mr A. Abdullahi, said “it is a bold decision which will serve as a deterrent to others,” adding that the court’s decision would also show other suspects that nobody could take the law for granted.

He disclosed that four persons were arrested last month for trafficking in drugs between Ondo and Niger states, adding that the vehicle in which they were conveying the drug had been impounded.

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