Thirteen (13) suspects have been arraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Awka for allegedly being in possession of various quantities of cannabis sativa, popularly known as marijuana, by the Anambra State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.
The arraigned suspects, four of whom pleaded not guilty of the crime, were said to be apprehended with the illegal substance at different locations in the state.
The presiding judge, Justice Nicholas Nweibo, ordered that two of the suspects be counseled by the NDLEA and released because of the small quantity recovered from them which is less than ten milligrams – of the substance found in their possession, while some others were granted bail with the sum of two million Naira and two sureties of like sum, one of whom must be a civil servant not below grade level eight, while the other must have evidence of tax payment for the past three years.
In his reaction, the State Commander of the Agency,Mr. Sule Momodu, said the agency is tightening its grips on drug peddlers ,emphasizing that the organization remains pragmatic in ensuring a drug-free Anambra State, especially as the Christmas draws closer.
The Head of the Legal Department of the Agency,Barrister Patrick Eshua, said the arraignment was aimed at given the suspects access to justice and decongest the Agency’s cells and noted that the quick dispensation of the legal processes will enable the organization to accelerate work on enforcement.
On his part, the Defence Counsel to three of the accused persons, two of whom were given order to be released, Barrister Lanre Adetumobi, said the judgment of the court was satisfactorily in line with best legal standards and pledged that the released persons would be duly counseled.
The court adjourned to different dates in January,February and March of next year, for hearing and presentation of evidence against those who pleaded guilty to the crime.