Federal High Court’s, Justice Okon Abang, in Abuja, on Monday, granted one Mrs Oluwaseyi Anifowoshe, an alleged drug trafficker the opportunity to cross examine an NDLEA witness due to the absence of her lawyer.
Newsmen report that, Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is an agency in Nigeria charged with eliminating the growing, processing, manufacturing, selling, exporting, and trafficking of hard drugs.
Justice Abang said that the law makes provision for a situation “where no excuse is offered, no indulgence should be granted.
“ There is no application asking for an adjournment and there is no letter from her counsel giving reasons for his absence after representing her during her last adjourned date.
“The defendant has been offered the opportunity to defend this matter by her counsel and has failed to avail herself of the same opportunity to be heard through her counsel.
“ Therefore, the defendant shall be ready to cross examine the prosecution witness at the close of the witness examination,” he said.
He said that she was at liberty to cross examine the witness voluntarily.
NDLEA’s fifth prosecution witness (PW5), Mr Tijani Sharubutu, Assistant Superintendent of Narcotics, said that sometime in 2017, he was ordered to obtain Anifowoshe’s statement after she was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport,Abuja.
“She wrote her statement herself in English language and confirmed the statement after endorsing it with a senior officer by name Mr Musa Bwalin ,” he said.
Anifowoshe acknowledged that she was not opposing to the admissibility of her written statement presented before the court.
Justice Abang marked and announced Anifowoshe’s statement as Exhibit J5.
Anifowoshe while cross examining the witness, urged him to disclose what was written in the statement.
Shurubutu said that the suspect wrote the details of her arrest and confirmed that she was in possession of two different illicit drugs substance; 1.9kg of cocain, 3kg of ephedrine.
He also said she claimed the boxes were given to her by her boyfriend to travel with to South Africa.
Justice Abang adjourned the matter until Jan.22 for defendant to open her defence .
After the court sitting, Prosecution counsel, Mr Mike Kassa said that the prosecution had called five witnesses and they were; the exhibit officer in charge of the seized drugs, the arresting officers, the witnessing officer, the case investigating officer and the forensic expert who conducted tests on the substances.
“The substances proved positive to ephedrine and cocaine.
“The prosecution has closed it’s case today so it is left for the defendant to open defence.
“During interrogation on arrest, she informed the officers that the bags were given to her by her boyfriend by name Mr Isaac Agoro.
“He was supposed to meet her in South Africa days later as she left Lagos to Abuja to board her flight.
“We got his phone numbers from her but his phones were switched off and she couldn’t provide us with his house address.
“If his handsets were not switched off, we would have monitored through the service providers to make sure he was arrested but all effort to get him to custody was to no avail,” he said.
During a sideline interview, sister to the defendant who claimed she just arrived from Lagos to Abuja today pleaded anonymity and said the defendant was not earlier informed by her counsel of his absence.