A 35-year old mother of five children, Grace Edem Asuquo, has been sentenced to imprisonment for one year and six months without option of fine for being in possession of 400 grammes of cannabis sativa.
The sentence was passed by Justice I. E. Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Calabar.
Witness for the prosecution, Ochika Simon, a Deputy Superintendent of Narcotics in the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency said on January 26, 2016, a team of NDLEA operatives led by Danladi Abu arrested Asuquo with dried weed substance suspected to be cannabis sativa concealed in a multi-coloured school bag.
He said he asked her who owned the substance and she admitted ownership.
“I then used the United Nations Testing Kit to field test the substance and the substance tested positive of cannabis sativa. I then weighed the substance and it weighed four hundred grammes,” he said.
Asuquo said she was a married 35 year old mother of five.
She said she stopped schooling in Primary 6 and owns a provision store.
She said her eldest child is 20 while her last one is six and begged the Court for mercy.
The defendant’s counsel, Eni Okoi, prayed the court to acknowledge the fact that the convict is a first time offender and has not taken the court through a lengthy trial but accepted her guilty early.
In the sentence, Justice Ekwo said counsel for the convict said she was a first offender and did not take the court through a lengthy trial and urged the Court to exercise leniency.
Ekwo noted that the prosecution did not have any record of previous conviction, which meant she was a first offender.
The sentence read, “Therefore in passing this sentence, I will take into account the fact that convict is a first offender, I will take into account the fact that the convict is a first offender, the quantity in her possession and the period of detention. I will therefore exercise leniency by not imposing maximum sentence. Convict is hereby sentenced to 1 year, 6 months imprisonment without option of fine with effect from 26/01/2016.”