For manufacturing, distributing and selling fake drugs, a Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, has sentenced one Osita Paul Eli to five years imprisonment without an option of fine.
Prior to the judgment, the 35-year-old graduate had been standing trial since October 2015 for manufacturing, distributing and selling fake drugs and other related act.
According to a statement made available to THISDAY by the Spokesperson for the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Anslem Okonkwor, Eli was arrested at his residence in Asaba on September 9, 2015, by NAFDAC operatives.
He said the arrest followed a tip-off where cartons of already produced and packaged fake drugs, machines and other equipment used for the production were also recovered before he was handed over to the police for prosecution.
The statement read in part: “During his arraignment last year, Eli had initially pleaded not guilty to a seven-count charge preferred against him, but later admitted guilt during further court proceedings that he indulged in the fake drugs manufacturing business to earn a living and meet his financial demands.
“Osita Paul Eli, a graduate of economics from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, had also claimed to be first offender through his counsel, Mr. Emeka Nathaniel Orji, and pleaded for his leniency.
“But the lead prosecuting counsel, Umar Shamaki, vehemently opposed the submission, and urged the court to sentence the accused in accordance with the law, arguing that offence committed by him was grave enough to send him to jail.
“Shamaki, relying on the result of the laboratory analysis of the sampled against the accused, showed that no active ingredient expected in the drugs was presented.
“He insisted that it was clear that the suspect knew what he was doing and at the detriment of public health and so should be sentenced accordingly to serve as deterrent to others as the case has become of public interest,” the statement said.
Thus, the presiding Judge, Justice Anthony Faji, while delivering his ruling, found the accused guilty in all the counts especially as he admitted guilty during cross examination.
He added that in view of the evidence,
circumstance and the accused’s admission to the charges, it was clear that rather than helping to use his knowledge to grow the economy of the country as graduate of Economics, he was determined to increase the population of the people in the hospital and the dead at the mortuary.
Noting that the accused person abused privileges of education, Justice Faji therefore sentenced him to five years in jail without option fine.
“In his reaction, Shamaki applauded the judgment, adding that the right message had been sent to other fake drugs manufacturers that there was no safe haven for them to carry out their nefarious activities.