The Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday convicted and sentenced a Cameroonian, Fofou Dadjo Evariste, and a Nigerian, Babangida Mahmoud, to two years imprisonment for unlawful possession of pangolin scales.
Justice Yelim Bogoro sentenced the convicts after they pleaded guilty to the amended charge filed against them by the Nigerian Customs Service.
The convicts were arraigned alongside one Olamilekan Adenekan on five counts of conspiracy, unlawful possession, trading, warehousing of pangolin scales, and perverting the course of justice.
Adenekan was arraigned on charges of conspiracy, unlawful possession, trading in the pangolin scales, and unlawful assembly, while the convicts were arraigned on conspiracy and perverting the course of justice while Mahmoud was charged with conspiracy. The Cameroonian was charged with perverting the course of justice, by taking the photographs of undercover personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service, who searched for the Pangolin scales kept in his warehouse.
The prosecutor, Michael Osong, told the court that the convicts and Adenekan, committed the offences between 2018 and 2022, at the No 12 ljora Causeway, area of Lagos State.
According to Osong, the offences committed contravened Section 516, 3, 4, 20, 11 (b) and 166 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Earlier, the convicts had pleaded not guilty when they were first arraigned before the court earlier this year.
However, at the resumed trial on Tuesday, the convicts told the court of their intentions to change their plea, a decision that was allowed by the court.
Upon their submissions to change their plea, the court ordered that the charge be re-read to them. After taking their plea, the prosecutor urged the court to sentence them in line with the sections of the NCS Act they were charged with.
But their lawyers urged the court to be lenient in sentencing them, having become remorseful of their act, and vowed not to engage in any form of criminality.
Justice Bogoro in her judgment sentenced the two convicts to one year each.
The judge however ordered the first convict, Mahmoud, to pay the sum of N100,000, while the second convict, the Cameroonian, Evariste, was ordered to pay the sum of N300,000, as a fine option to the sentence.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.