An Abuja Federal High Court on Friday sentenced a 36-year old man, Callistus Sunday Chukwukelu, to life imprisonment after finding him guilty of drug trafficking.
The convict told the court that he planned to get married this year.
Chukwukelu was arrested by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency with 1.470 kilograms of cocaine at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on January 1 when he was returning to the country on an Ethiopian Airline flight from Sao-Polo, Brazil.
He was consequently charged under section 11 (a) of the NDLEA Act, which prescribed a maximum sentence of life imprisonment on conviction.
Chukwukelu did not deny the charge.
He pleaded guilty when the charge was read to him, following which Justice Adeniyi Ademola promptly convicted him.
The convict then pleaded for leniency, stressing that hardship pushed him into drug trafficking.
According to him, he got involved in the illicit business after his boutique in Lagos was razed by fire.
Also, he informed the court of his marriage plans, which he intended to finalise before the end of the year.
Chukwukelu equally pleaded with the court to have mercy on him so that he could continue to take care of his aged mother.
But the convict must have been disappointed when, after all his pleas, the court still proceeded to slam the maximum punishment – life imprisonment – on him.
Justice Ademola explained that Chukwukelu’s plea of leniency was insufficient to dissuade the court from sentencing him to life imprisonment, as prescribed by the law for such offences.
Interestingly, the judge noted that beyond the fact that the law under which Chukwukelu was charged stipulated life imprisonment, evidence from his international passport indicated that he was an old hand in the business of drug trafficking.