CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF NARCOTIC DRUG – Statutory provisions with respect to the offence of unlawful dealing with marijuana and the punishment for same; ingredients of the offence of unlawful possession of Indian hemp


“…The Appellant was arraigned and tried on a sole count charge of dealing with cannabis sativa (otherwise known as marijuana) contrary to and punishable under Section 11(c) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30, L.F.N. 2004. (See page 1 of the record of appeal). The section provides: “11 (1) any person who without lawful authority, (c) sells, buys, exposes or offers for sale or otherwise deals in or with the drugs particularly known as cocaine, LSD, heroin or any other similar drugs shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for life” Section 11 (2) (b) further provides: “The penalties for offences under Subsection (1) of this section shall: (b) In respect of offences under paragraph (c), (f), (g) and (i) thereof, be imprisonment for a term not less than fifteen years and not exceeding twenty-five years.” It is the law that in order to secure a conviction for unlawful possession of Indian hemp, otherwise known as cannabis sativa, the prosecution must establish the following beyond reasonable doubt as required by Section 135 of the Evidence Act, 2011: 1. That the substance was in the possession of the accused; 2. That it was knowingly in his possession; 3. That the substance is proved to be Indian hemp (cannabis sativa); and 4. That the accused was in possession of the substance without lawful authority. See also the cases of BLESSING V. FRN (2015) LPELR- 24689 (SC); OYEM V. FRN (2019) LPELR – 47392 (SC); CHUKWUMA V. FRN (2011) 13 NWLR (Pt. 1264) 391 at 412.” per JAURO, J.S.C. in BALOGUN v. FRN (2021-LCER-40452-SC) (Pp 14 – 16 Paras F – B)

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