The appellant was sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment. He lodged an appeal. The Court of Appeal Sokoto Division heard
the appeal. That court had no difficulty confirming the judgment of the trial court. In a judgment delivered on the 13th day of
January, 2010 the Court of Appeal had this to say:
“In conclusion and in the given circumstances, in so far as the appellant has failed in his bid to successfully challenge his
conviction by the trial court, this court cannot disturb the verdict and sentences imposed by the said trial court. This
appeal is dismissed as it lacks merit. The conviction of the appellant and the sentence imposed by the lower court are
hereby affirmed by me …….”
This appeal is against that judgment. In accordance with Order 6 Rule 5 of the Rules of this court both sides filed and
exchanged briefs. The appellants brief was filed on the 1st of August, 2010 while the respondents brief was deemed duly filed
on the 7th of April, 2011.
Learned counsel for the appellant Mr. A. Ogunsanya formulated two issues from his grounds of appeal. They read:
1.

Whether there was evidence before the trial court to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the substance allegedly
recovered from the appellant was indeed cannabis sativa otherwise known as Indian Hemp and that same is a
drug similar to cocaine, LSD or heroine.

2.

Whether having regard to the totality of the evidence adduced as exhibits in this matter, the Court of Appeal is
justified in affirming the findings of the trial court.

On the other side of the fence learned counsel for the respondent, Mr. E. Okpoko presented two issues also for determination of
this appeal. The issues are:
1.

Whether the Court of Appeal was right in law when it held that the case against the appellant can be said to have
been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

2.

Whether having regard to the totality of the evidence adduced, the Court of Appeal was right in affirming the
conviction of the appellant for being in unlawful possession of Indian Hemp.

The issues presented by both sides ask the same question. I find it safe to rely on the issues presented by the appellant to decide
this appeal.
At the hearing of the appeal on the 26th of January 2012, learned counsel for the appellant adopted his brief filed on the 16th of
August 2010. He urged this court to allow the appeal. Learned counsel for the respondent adopted his brief which was deemed
duly filed on the 7th of April 2011 and urged this court to dismiss the appeal.
The facts are these:
The appellant is a trader. On the 16th day of November, 2000 he boarded a lorry bound for Sokoto. On getting to Bodinga, the
lorry ran into a team of NDLEA operatives patrolling the Sokoto/Birnin Kebbi Road. The lorry had to stop and all the
passengers were ordered to disembark with their luggage. Bitrus Ajiku Damudn (PW1), a Chief Narcotic Agent was in the team
of NDLEA operatives. He approached the appellant, demanding to search his luggage. The appellant said his luggage contained
used video machine and parts. A search revealed twelve bundles neatly wrapped and stuck down with sellotape. PW1 tore open
one bundle and saw a substance that he suspected to be Indian hemp. The appellant was arrested by PW1 and taken to the
NDLEA office for further interrogation. At the office Ibrahim Musa (PW2) an Assistant Superintendent of Narcotic 1 used a
United Nations Testing Kit to test a quantity of the substance from the appellant's luggage. (Dry leaves). This was done in the
presence of the appellant, and it was found to be Indian hemp. It weighed 26 kilograms. Exhibits D1 - D12. Forms on testing,
weighing and packing the substance were signed by PW1, PW2 and the appellant. Exhibits A, B, and C. A drug analysis report
Exhibit E, E2 turned out to be positive. The dried leaves in the appellant's luggage was Indian hemp
Initially the case was before Akanbi. J. Trial commenced on the 16th of July 2002. On the 18th of July 2002 the appellant was
admitted to bail, and on the 15th of May 2003, the court was informed that the appellant had jumped bail. On the 22nd of
September 2003, the case was sent to Hobon. J. for trial to commence de novo. It was not until the 13th of February 2004 that
the appellant was arrested and brought before Hobon. J. He was nowhere to be found for over one year. He explained to the
court that he went with a friend to Goronyo in Niger State in search of a man who had his money, but that he and his friend
were arrested for possession of drugs and taken to prison in Niger Republic, and it was not until the 27th of December 2003 that
he was released from prison. Returning to Nigeria he was arrested in Sokoto and brought before Hobon. J for the first time on
the 13th of February, 2004.

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