Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday sentenced a 35-year old woman, Clara Onah, to seven years in prison for selling fake drugs.
Onah, from Enugu State, was charged to court by the National Agency for Food, Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
A Microbiology graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Onah resides at No 12, Mosalashi Street, Alagbado in Lagos.
She pleaded guilty to a five-count charge of possession and sale of fake drugs following her arraignment on February 15.
The prosecutor, Mr Shamaki Umar, told the court that the accused sold fake brand of 200 mg of Amazon Amagyl Metronidazole tablets.
When the case resumed yesterday, Umar presented the laboratory analysis of the confiscated drugs which showed that they were fake and contained 20 rather than 200 milligrams.
The convict’s counsel, Mr Chinedu Moore, in his allocutus, pleaded for leniency and urged the court to temper justice with mercy. He submitted that his client was a first time offender who did not have the intent to manufacture or sell fake drugs.
Amid sobs, Onah also pleaded for mercy, saying she didn’t know the drugs were fake.
But the prosecutor urged the court to impose the maximum sentence, saying, “When she was asked to show the operatives of NAFDAC where the drugs were being manufactured, she took them to an unknown address that does not exist. When they eventually traced her residence, they discovered items she used in manufacturing the drugs such as weighing scales and labels.
“With all intent and purpose my lord, she was manufacturing them herself. Therefore, I urge my lord to award maximum sentence as provided by law so as to serve as deterrence to others.”
In his judgment, Justice Chuka Obiozor said: ”I will give you a second chance as a first offender but those who took your drugs and died had no second chance”.
He reprimanded the convict for being a 2:1 UNN graduate who chose to deal in fake drugs instead of staying in the village to find something worthy to do, if she could not get a decent job in Lagos.
The judge said: “Clara Onah, you are hereby sentenced to seven years imprisonment at the women wing of the Kirikiri Maximum Prison on each of the counts. They are to run concurrently starting from January 26, when you were arrested and detained.
“The convict was also fined N50,000 on count five. The prosecution should hold on to the exhibits pending the elapse of the time of appeal of this judgment. At the elapse of appeal window, the prosecution should destroy it.”
The offences contravened the provisions of Section 1(1) (a), 3, and 3 (1) of the Counterfeit and Fake Drugs Unwholesome Processed Foods, (Miscellaneous Provision) Act Cap 34, Laws of the Federation, 2004.