Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday convicted and sentenced two men, John Kanu, and Obinna Eze, to four years imprisonment for unlawful possession of 839.4kg of pangolin scales and 145kg of elephant tusks.
The suspects and others were arrested during joint wildlife enforcement operations by the Nigeria Customs Service and Wildlife Justice Commission, targeting illegal wildlife traders and traffickers from Africa to Asia.
The convicts were handed down the jail term after they pleaded guilty to the charges filed against them by the Nigeria Customs Service.
Kanu and Eze were arraigned alongside one Anthony Onyebuchi and Monday Nnamani, in an amended charge marked FHC/L/123c/22.
Kanu and Eze pleaded guilty while Onyebuchi and
Nnamani pleaded not guilty.
The prosecutor, David Ereh, told the court that the convicts and others on February 2, 2022, conspired among themselves to warehouse the prohibited items at Adeba in Ibeju Lekki, Lagos State.
The prosecutors told the court that the convicts’ actions contravened
Sections 516, 7(3), 7(4), 5 (1) (a) of the Criminal Code Act, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and 2016.
Ereh urged the court to convict those that pleaded guilty and sentence them according to the sections of the laws that they were charged with.
But their lawyer, Chukwu Agwu, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing his client.
In his judgment, Justice Oweibo sentenced the two of them to two years each on counts one and two, while they were pardoned on counts three.
The case was adjourned till September 28 for the trial of the remaining two defendants.