FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
(DELIVERED BY JUMMAI HANNATU SANKEY, J.C.A.)
On 18th May, 2015, the Appellant was arraigned before the Federal High Court, Yola on a one-count charge of unlawful possession of Tramadol, a substance similar to Cocaine, under Section 19 of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, Cap. N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 dated 11th May, 2015. The charge read thus:
That you Ikye Eze, male, adult, 35 years old on or about the 2nd May, 2015 at Gunure village, Mayo Belwa LGA of Adamawa State within the jurisdiction of this honourable Court without lawful authority knowingly possess 3 kilograms of Tramadol a narcotic analgesic drug similar to cocaine and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 19 of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
When the charge was read and explained to the Appellant, he pleaded guilty as charged. However, before the lower Court took any further step, the prosecution, in line with Law, adduced evidence through one witness to establish that the substance found in the possession of the Appellant was indeed a narcotic. Thereafter, the trial Court adopted the summary trial procedure to convict the Appellant on his guilty plea and sentenced him to a term of two years imprisonment.
Dissatisfied with the decision, the Appellant filed an Appeal against his conviction on 08-06-15 vide his Notice and Grounds of Appeal, wherein he complained on one ground. The substance of his complaint is that the trial Court erred in law when it convicted him on the basis of his guilty plea and the facts presented when there was no expert evidence for relying on the evidence of the PW1, which he claimed, was inadmissible.
On the basis of this Appeal, both parties filed their respective Briefs of argument on 21-09-15 and 06-11-15 respectively, which Briefs were deemed duly filed and served on 15-02-16. Thus, on 15-02-16, when the Appeal was called up for hearing, both the Appellants Counsel, M.A. Vasumu (Mrs.) holding the brief of Evaristus Paul Esq., and the Respondents Counsel, B.S. Abdullahi Esq., officer in charge of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Adamawa State Command, adopted their respective Briefs of argument. While, learned Counsel for the Appellant urged the Court to allow the Appeal and set aside the Judgment of the trial Court, learned Counsel for the Respondent urged the Court to dismiss the Appeal and affirm the decision of the trial Court.
Both parties in their respective Briefs of argument distilled one lone issue each from the sole ground for the determination of the Appeal, which issues are identical in content with only slight variations. Thus, the issue as distilled by the Appellant is adopted in determining the Appeal. It states thus:
Whether by virtue of the Law the Prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt to warrant the conviction and sentence of the Appellant.
The Appellant, in his Brief of argument which was settled by U.B. Ismaila Esq, submits that the lower Court erred in law when it relied on the guilty plea of the Appellant, in conjunction with the evidence of the PW1, to convict him of the charge. He submits that by Section 19 of the NDLEA Act, 2004 under which he was charged, the prosecution is under a duty to lead evidence to prove the following essential elements:
1. That the substance is actually Tramadol of a kind similar to Cocaine;
2. That the substance was in the possession of the Appellant;
3. That the Appellant was knowingly in possession of the substance without lawful authority.
Reliance was placed on Njoku V State (1988) 3 NWLR (Pt. 83) 398. Counsel argues that even though the Appellant pleaded guilty to the offence charged, the prosecution was still under a duty to lead evidence to prove the elements of the offence. He argues that the plea of guilty did not relieve the prosecution of the burden of adducing expert evidence to establish that Tramadol is a substance similar to Cocaine in line with the enabling Law. He relies on Stephenson V IG of Police (1966) 2 ANLR 261.
Counsel further submits that the lower Court erred in admitting the evidence of the PW1, who is not an expert but an exhibit keeper. He refers to Section 68 of the Evidence Act, 2011 (as amended) for the definition of an expert, and relies on Aigbadion V State (1999) 1 NWLR (Pt. 586) 284; ANPP V Usman (2009) NWLR (Pt. 463) 1292; Azu V State (1993) 6 NWLR (Pt. 299) 303; & Ugwanyi V FRN (2012) MJSC Vol. 1, pg. 132 at 134.
In addition, Counsel submits that the result of the expert analysis of the substance recovered from the Appellant referred to by the PW1, was not tendered in evidence. Thus, he surmised that the test analysis carried out by the witness is not certain. Consequently, it is his contention that there is a doubt as to the evidence of the Prosecution, which doubt should be resolved in favour of the Appellant. Reliance is placed on Alhassan V State (2011) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1234) 254. Counsel further argues that the PW1 is not competent to make an analysis of the drugs and to form an opinion. Therefore, that the Appellant ought not to have been convicted based on the unverified report of the PW1, him not being an expert witness. He relies on Alabi V State (1993) 7 NWLR (Pt. 307) 511; Shehu V State (2010) 22 WRN 1 at 9; & Oludamilola V State (2010) 15 WRN 1 at 3.
Counsel also contends that from the content of the Certificate of test analysis, admitted in evidence as Exhibit P2, it is not conclusive proof that the substance in the Appellants possession is Tramadol, a drug similar to Cocaine since it is subject to a confirmatory test. He submits that it is unsafe to convict the Appellant, given the incomplete test procedure. Counsel therefore urged the Court to resolve the sole issue in favour of the Appellant. In the final analysis, he urged the Court to allow the Appeal, set aside the decision of the trial Court, and discharge and acquit the Appellant.
In his response, learned Counsel for the Respondent submits that by virtue of Section 33 of the Federal High Court Act, Cap. F12 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, particularly subsection (2) thereof, the procedure for trial before the Federal High Court is by summary proceedings. He refers to The Blacks Law Dictionary (sixth Edition), 1990 at page 1204 for the definition of Summary Proceedings. For judicial pronouncements endorsing this definition, he also relies on a decision of this Court in FRN V Ibori (2014) ALL FWLR (Pt. 735) 272 at 299; & Uwazuruike VAG Federation (2013) ALL FWLR (Pt. 691) 520. At page 299 of the former decision, Saulawa, JCA pronounced thus:
(Summary trials are short and fast). Cases tried summarily are disposed of in a prompt and simple manner.
Counsel also relies on Section 277 (a) & (b) and Section 285 of the Criminal Procedure Act on the requirement of summary trials in the Federal High Court, and submits that the trial Court fully or substantially compiled with those provisions as well as Sections 215 and 218 thereof which deal with the recording of the plea of guilty during of an accused during arraignment.
In respect of the submission of the Appellant that the prosecution did not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt by leading expert evidence to prove that the substances found on him were Tramadol capsules a drug similar to cocaine, and that the lower Court was wrong in admitting the evidence of PW1 on the ground that he was not an expert, Counsel submits that the Appellant pleaded guilty to the charge which was duly read and interpreted to him in a language he stated he understood. He argues that in summary trials, once an accused person pleads guilty, he is presumed to have admitted in substance the veracity of the facts alluded to in the charge; and it becomes unnecessary for the prosecution to lead any evidence in proof of the charge that the accused has already admitted. He relies on Nkie V FRN (2014) ALL FWLR (Pt. 754) 178 at 188-189; FRN V Mohammed (2014) ALL FWLR (Pt. 730) 1234 at 1255-1256; Timothy V FRN (2012) ALL FWLR (Pt. 639) 1006; Okewu V FRN (2012) ALL FWLR (Pt. 625) 205.
Counsel contends that the proposition and judicial authorities relied upon by the Appellant are either distinguishable or are no longer tenable in contemporary jurisprudence relating to the procedure to be adopted where an accused person pleads guilty in a criminal proceeding. He submits that in Nkie V FRN (supra), the Supreme Court specifically dealt with the issue of expert evidence and/or scientific/forensic report which it held was not necessary where an accused pleads guilty to the charge. Based on this, Counsel submits that the evidence of PW1, Exhibits P1, P2 and P3 were a mere surplusage, which he contends is the reason why no mention was made of them in the Judgment of the lower Court.
Counsel therefore submits that the trial Court exercised jurisdiction proper under Section 26 of the NDLEA Act and adopted the right procedure for summary trial under the combined provisions of the Federal High Court Act and the Criminal Procedure Act to convict and sentence the Appellant. He therefore urged the Court to resolve the sole issue in favour of the Respondent. Counsel finally submits that the Appeal lacks merit and urged the Court to dismiss it, uphold the conviction, and review the sentence to the legally permissible threshold.
In order to secure a conviction for the unlawful possession of narcotics under Section 19 of the NDLEA Act, the prosecution must establish the following elements beyond reasonable doubt:
1. That the substance was in the possession of the accused;
2. That it was knowingly in his possession;
3. That the substance was proved to be a narcotic; and
4. That the accused was in possession of the substance without lawful authority.
See Blessing V FRN (2015) LPELR-24689(SC); Okewu V FRN (2012) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1305) 327; Chukwuma V FRN (2011) 13 NWLR (Pt. 1264) 391.
From the printed record of proceedings of the lower Court, the Appellant voluntarily pleaded guilty to the charge. Also, it goes without saying that Exhibit P1, the Tramadol capsules recovered from the Appellant, and Exhibit P2, the Certificate of Test Analysis, were admitted in evidence without any form of objection from the Appellant. Learned Counsel has made heavy weather of the use the lower Court made of this certificate in the conviction of the Appellant. Section 55 of the Evidence Act, 2011 however allows for the admission and use of the document. The Appellant had the option of exploring and taking advantage of the provisions of the Evidence Act by raising an objection to the admission of the document in evidence and of cross-examining the witness on the document. He did not, Instead this is what transpired in Court as reflected at pages 6-7 of the printed Record:
Defendant:- I understand the charge. It is true. I plead guilty to the charge.
Prosecution:- I have a witness in Court to present evidence in support of the charge.
PW1:- ... My name is Pukumah Yaro Michael, I work with NDLEA, Adamawa State command Yola. I am the exhibit officer of the Command... On 8/5/15Morrison Simon (S.N.2) and Sanusi Mohammed (N.A.) both NDLEA officers of Jada Area Command, brought the defendant before me with an ash coloured travelling bag which the defendant claimed to be the owner. In the presence of the defendant and the two officers who brought him, I opened the travelling bag. Inside I found sachets of Tramadol capsules suspected to be narcotic analgesic drug. I took small sample of the drug and tested it using the U.N. drug testing kit. The test proved positive as narcotic analgesic. I also put small sample of the drug and put it in a transparent evidence pouch and heat sealed it for expert analysis. I gave it reference number NDLEA/ADSC/EXH/041/15 for expert analysis. I then weighed the rest of the exhibit and its weight was 3kg... I then brought out 2 forms certificate of test analysis and which I wrote the result of the test I did on his exhibit. I explained this to the defendant and he thumb printed the form...
Prosecution:- I apply to tender the Tramadol capsules weighing 3kg concealed in travelling box and the 2 exhibit forms in evidence.
Defendant:- I have no objection.
Court:- Admitted in evidence as Exhibit P1 for the drugs in the box and P2 and P3 for the 2 exhibit forms...
PW1: That is all.
Defendant:- I have no question to ask this witness.
Prosecution:- Based on the plea of guilty entered by the defendant and evidence of PW1, I apply that the defendant be convicted as charged.
Court:- Asks the defendant whether he has cause to show why he should not be convicted as charged.
Defendant:- I have no cause. I just beg Court to forgive me.
I hereby convict you Ikye Eze of the offence of being in unlawful possession knowingly of 3 kilograms of tramadol, a narcotic drug similar to cocaine, contrary to section 19 of NDLEA Act. This is based on your plea of guilty to the charge and the evidence of PW1. You are convicted as charged.
Convict:- I understand that I have been convicted. I wanted to stop this trade of selling these hard drugs. I collected and kept these drugs to get rid of, then I was arrested with them. I beg Court to be lenient to me. (Emphasis supplied)
A similar scenario to this played out in the case of Nkie V FRN (2014) LPELR-22877(SC). Therein, the Appellant was arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at Zaakpim Road Junction in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State for being in unlawful possession of substances suspected to be cocaine weighing 0.4 grams. The Appellant made a confessional statement and was subsequently arraigned before the Federal High Court on a one-count charge of knowingly being in possession of 0.4 grams of cocaine, a narcotic drug contrary to Section 19 of the NDLEA Act. Upon arraignment, the Appellant pleaded guilty to the charge. The prosecution thereupon urged the Court to convict the Appellant after tendering the alleged cocaine, the Certificate of test analysis, the Request for scientific aid/analysis, etc. Consequent upon this, the learned trial Judge convicted the Appellant and sentenced him to 18 months imprisonment. Dissatisfied, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, which affirmed the conviction and dismissed the Appeal. On a further appeal to the Supreme Court, the conviction was again affirmed. The Apex Court held that a plea of guilty, even in a case of this nature, is valid if made in a very unambiguous and unequivocal way, and same is received by a trial Court. It held further per Okoro, JSC as follows at pages 26-27 of the Report:
It is trite that where an accused person pleads guilty to the offence against him, the onus placed on the prosecution by law is lifted and the court can safely convict on his plea. But in this case, after the plea of guilty entered by the Appellant, the Respondent went ahead to adduce evidence to substantiate the charge against the accused person. It goes without any conjecture that where the prosecution goes further irrespective of the plea of guilty, to lead cogent and credible evidence as was done in this case, to further support the plea of guilty, the ensuing conviction in my view is unassailable... Thus, the Appellant, having voluntarily pleaded guilty to the charge at the trial Court, he cannot now be heard to be making a different case on appeal. He should not be allowed to approbate and reprobate in the same breath.
Therefore, contrary to the Appellants submission, which with respect is misconceived, his guilty plea was both potent and sufficient for a conviction to be promptly entered thereon.
On whether the Appellant could be convicted solely on his plea and the exhibits tendered being, among others, the substances recovered from the Appellant and the Certificate of test analysis (without the further confirmatory test from the Forensic Laboratory), Okoro, JSC additionally held as follows at page 31 of the Report:
The fact that the Prosecution in the instant case tendered Exhibits A-F including the substance alleged to be cocaine as Exhibit A, a certificate of test analysis as Exhibit B, clearly takes the case out of the ambits of the authority of Stephenson V Inspector General of Police (1965) ALL NLR 261 relied upon by the Appellant. In Stephensons case (supra), the weed alleged to be Indian hemp was not tendered in Court but in the instant case, the substance suspected to be cocaine was tendered as Exhibit A and backed up by a scientific analysis of same and tendered as Exhibit B. Also in the confessional statement of the Appellant (sic) he called the substance cocaine. For me, the argument of the Appellant on this aspect is of no moment.
In his contribution to this Judgment, the erudite Onnoghen, JSC, lent his weighty voice to deliberations on this issue and took it to another level in this form:
...under what circumstances can an accused person who had pleaded guilty to a charge and had consequently been convicted and sentenced accordingly appeal against that conviction? The answer is stated in Essien V King 13 WACA 6 where it is opined that the circumstance in which an appellate court will entertain an appeal in cases which the Appellant pleaded guilty are as follows:-
A plea of guilty having been recorded, the court can only entertain an appeal against conviction if it appears:
1. That the appellant did not appreciate the nature of the charge or did not intend to admit he was guilty of it or
2. That upon the admitted facts he could not, in law, have been convicted of the offence charged.
My lord, Onnoghen, JSC then mused as follows at (page 36 of the E-Report):
Can it be said that the Appellant has brought his case within the above stated requirements? The answer is clearly in the negative. The appeal by the appellant is clearly an afterthought; an act designed to waste the precious time of the court for reasons which are not clearly for the promotion of justice for the Appellant, having regard to the facts on record and the law applicable thereto.
Thus, much as the further confirmatory test of the drugs recovered from the Appellant was yet to be tendered in Court before the Appellant was convicted, based on the guilty plea of the Appellant freely given, in conjunction with the Tramadol capsules and the initial Certificate of test analysis of the Tramadol capsules tendered, by the pronouncements of the Apex Court on the issue, the lower Court rightly proceeded to exercise its powers of summary trial vested in it by law to convict the Appellant on the charge. This is because the Appellant unequivocally and repeatedly pleaded guilty to the charge upon his arraignment and again after the Certificate of test analysis was tendered, which Certificate further confirmed that the drugs found in his possession were indeed three kilograms of Tramadol, a narcotic similar to cocaine. See Nkie V FRN (supra); & Blessing V FRN (supra).
In addition to the Appellants guilty plea, the lucid testimony of the PW1 as an employee and exhibit keeper of the NDLEA Adamawa State Command was not controverted or impugned in any way. There was also no objection from the Appellant when the Certificate of test analysis, Exhibit PW2, which certified the actual nature of the drugs seized from the Appellant to be of a narcotic drug similar to cocaine, was tendered in evidence. It is also significant that the Appellant readily owned up to the ownership of the travelling bag and the drugs contained therein, which drugs the PW1 said he field-tested with the U.N. testing kit and it proved positive as a narcotic analgesic. Both the weighing of the substance and the test analysis were duly carried out in the Appellants presence. The Certificate of test analysis wherein the results were entered was, in addition, thumb printed by the Appellant. He has not denied this. As aforesaid, while it is desirable for a further confirmatory test to be carried out, the fact that the Appellant did not oppose the admission of both the narcotic substances (Exhibit P1) and the Certificate of test analysis (Exhibit P2) in evidence, rendered the documents both admissible and unchallenged evidence. They were therefore properly acted upon by the trial Court, in conjunction with the unequivocal plea of guilty.
In the result, it follows that the absence of the confirmatory test to buttress the first scientific test analysis, even if considered irregular, has been waived and cannot now be made the subject of a complaint before this Court. The Appellant clearly knew what he pleaded to and no miscarriage of justice has been occasioned. In Obisi V Chief of Naval Staff (2004) 11 NWLR (Pt. 885) 482 the Supreme Court held:
A person who acquiesced in an improper procedure without protesting is not permitted to complain on appeal. In the instant case, the appellant did not protest the alleged infraction of procedure adopted at the trial before the Court Marshal, he cannot be heard to complain on appeal.
The Appellant in the instant case, not only acquiesced to the procedure, but proceeded to explain in his own words (as reproduced above) that his apparent intention was:
...to stop this trade of selling these hard drugs. I collected and kept these drugs to get rid of, then I was arrested with them.
Had the Appellant complained about the procedure, the Court had the discretion to adjourn the hearing, if it thought fit, for the further confirmatory test to be procured and tendered. However, in view of his ready admission in Court and his plea of guilty, in conjunction with the preliminary test analysis which disclosed that the Tramadol capsules found in his possession were a narcotic substance, the Court was obliged by law to take the next step to convict the Appellant. On the facts on record, there was no ground upon which it could have shunned the summary trial procedure. The onus was on the Appellant to have raised the issue before the trial Court before now. He failed to do so. He has also failed to show that he has in any way suffered a miscarriage of justice, having been duly convicted on his unambiguous plea of guilty. He cannot therefore be heard to complain now, as it is too late in the day. See again Blessing V FRN (2015) LPELR-24689(SC). I therefore hold that the lower Court rightly convicted the Appellant of the charge which he pleaded guilty to without any reservation. The sole issue is accordingly resolved against the Appellant.
One more thing before I end. It is important to sound a note of caution to trial Courts handling cases of this nature where substances alleged to be narcotics, Indian hemp, and the like are involved, to exercise some measure of patience and discretion, and not to proceed with undue haste. It is not out of place to reaffirm the desirability of a trial Court insisting that the prosecution should go the whole hog in its investigations, to dot the is and cross the ts (as it were), in order to ensure that both the preliminary analysis tests as well as the confirmatory tests on such substances are carried out in proper laboratories and the results duly tendered in Court. Even in the light of recent decisions of the Courts, with which I am in total accord, it is advisable for trial Courts to insist that proper forensic test analysis are carried out not only where an accused person denies the charge, but also in cases where an accused pleads guilty. This would serve to both ensure that an accused person does not plead guilty to a substance which may turn out not to be a banned and/or regulated substance and is convicted, but would also close the door on convicts who later have a change of heart (afterthought) and decide to fall back on technicalities to escape the long hands of justice.
In the result, I find the Appeal devoid of merit. It is hereby dismissed. Accordingly, the Judgment of the Federal High Court Yola, in Charge number FHC/YL/31C/2015 between: Ikye Eze V Federal Republic of Nigeria, delivered on 18th May, 2015, convicting and sentencing the Appellant, is affirmed.
HON. JUSTICE TIJJANI ABDULLAHI (JCA)
BIOBELE ABRAHAM GEORGEWILL, JCA:
I have read in advance a draft of the lead judgment just delivered by my lord, JUMMAI HANNATU SANKEY, JCA and I am in complete agreement with the reasoning and conclusions reached therein, which I hereby adopt as mine.
I shall, by way of emphasis only, say a word or two as my contribution to the lucid reasoning in the lead judgment.
The trial leading to the conviction and sentence of the Appellant by the court below was in every sense of the word very summary as it ought to and should be in the circumstances in which the Appellant, as an accused person upon a clear understanding of the charge, had pleaded guilty to the charge laid against him by the Respondent. It was truly a very prompt and simple proceeding devoid of any excess baggage and technicality. See FRN V. Ibori (2014) All FWLR (Pt. 735) 272 @ p. 299. See also Uwazurike V. AG. Federation (2013) All FWLR (Pt. 691)
In law, once an accused person had pleaded guilty to a charge as laid against him by the prosecution before a court of law and consequently convicted on his own plea of guilt, there is generally only two circumstances in which an appeal against conviction upon a guilty plea can be entertained, namely; firstly that the appellant did not understand and appreciate the nature of the charge to which he had pleaded guilty or that he did not intend to admit that he was guilty of the offence (s) charged. Secondly, that upon the facts as admitted by the accused person he could not, in law, have been convicted of the offence (s) charged. See Nkie V. Ibori (2014) LPELR 22877 (SC) per Onnoghen JSC.
An illustration of some of these circumstances would, in my view, bring home the point being made here. Where an accused person for instance is charged under the Criminal Code with burglary over an incident that happened between 7am and 5pm and he pleads guilty to the charge of burglary, when in law the admitted facts that the incident took place in the day time clearly takes the case outside the realm of burglary to house breaking, a conviction founded on such a plea of guilty can, in my view, be successfully appealed against by the accused person. It would also appear, and I hold the view, that where an accused person pleads guilty to a charge but the admitted facts fall short of the essential ingredients of the offence charged, a conviction founded on such a plea of guilty can be successfully appealed against.
In this vein, I see a thin divide, though blurred to some extent, between a confessional statement of an accused person and a plea of guilty to a charge by an accused person. While a confessional statement is good evidence if obtained in line with the law for conviction of an accused person solely on his confessional statement, a plea of guilty on the other hand would require, not necessarily essentially but desirably, some form of presentation of the facts of the case as shown by the investigating authority and admitted by the accused person.
Herein, in my view, lies the thin divide, namely; where the facts as admitted and set forth by the prosecution fall short of the essential ingredients of the offence with which an accused person is charged, a conviction ought not to be entered against him by the trial court simply on his plea of guilty. A plea of not guilty should rather be entered so that the prosecution will be called upon to marshal out the evidence it has against the accused person and his defence if any also heard and all duly considered will enable the trial court to arrive at a proper conclusion according to law.
In the instant appeal, while I agree completely with the lead judgment that in the circumstances of the proceedings before the court below, as in pages 6 7 of the record of appeal, the conviction a sentence of the Appellant was proper and cannot be interfered with by this court in this appeal, yet I deem it pertinent to make the following observation.
In my respectful view it would be desirable, though not necessarily essential as I had earlier observed, that in the circumstances in which the prosecution was awaiting the Confirmatory Test Result of the substance recovered from the Appellants possession and all that was before the court below was the Certificate of Test Analysis as in Exhibit P2 tendered by PW1, the court below ought to make haste slowly.
By making haste slowly, the court below can do so by perhaps granting an adjournment while remanding the Appellant, who had already pleaded guilty to the charge against him in prison custody, to await the final confirmatory test result in order to avoid the possibility of unintentionally convicting an innocent accused person, who it may turn out was not in possession of any prohibited substance even though he had thought, perhaps erroneously, that he was so in possession and had already pleaded guilty to the charge laid against him by the prosecution.
The above caution by trial courts in cases of this nature is, in my view, very apt and cannot be overemphasised, particularly keeping in mind the almost impracticability under our system of administration of criminal justice of getting an accused already convicted and sentenced before the confirmatory test result is presented before the trial court from being released promptly from prison should it turn out that the confirmatory test returns negative result for the prohibited substance. In other advanced climes or societies, such a prompt release is probable and can be taken for granted but not yet so with our system of administration of criminal justice.
I have merely thought aloud as above since this is one of the only legitimate avenues I am empowered by law to think, talk and speak the law. I also join in the conclusion reached in the lead judgment that this appeal is bereft of any merit and consequently liable to be dismissed. I too hereby dismiss this appeal and affirm the conviction and sentence of the Appellant by the court below.?
M.A. Vasumu (Mrs.) appears for the Appellant, holding the brief of Evaristus Paul Esq.
B.S. Abdullahi Esq., Officer in charge of National Drug and Law Enforcement Agency, Adamawa State Command, appears for the Respondent.