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(Last Updated On: September 2, 2017)

A 35 year-old fake drugs manufacturer, Osita Paul Ely has been sentenced to five years imprisonment without option of fine by a Federal High Court sitting in Asaba Delta State. Eli had been standing trail since October 2015 for manufacturing, distribution and sale of fake drugs and other related act in Asaba. He was arrested at his residence in Asaba on 9th September,2016, by operatives of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) following a tip-off where cartons of already produced and packaged fake drugs, machines and other equipment used for the production also recovered before he was handed over to the Police for prosecution. During his arraignment in court last year, Eli had initially pleaded not guilty to a 7-count charge preferred against him, but later admitted guilt during further court proceedings that he indulged in the fake drugs manufacturing business to earn a living and meet his financial demands. Osita Paul Eli, a graduate of economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, had also claimed to be first offender through his counsel, Mr. Emeka Nathaniel Orji and pleaded for his leniency. But the lead prosecuting counsel, Umar Shamaki vehemently opposed the submission and urged the court to sentence the accused in accordance with the law arguing that offence committed by him was grave enough to send him to jail. Shamaki relying on the result of the laboratory analysis of the sampled against the accused which showed that no active ingredient expected in the drugs were presented, insisted that it was clear that the suspect knew what he was doing and at the detriment of public health and so should be sentenced accordingly to serve as deterrent to others as the case has become of public interest. The presiding Judge, Justice Anthony Faji while delivering his ruling, found the accused guilty in all the counts especially as he admitted guilty during cross examination, adding that in view of the evidence, circumstance and the accused’s admission to the charges, it was clear that rather than helping to use his knowledge to grow the economy of the country as graduate of Economics he was determined to increase the population of the people in the hospital and the dead at the mortuary. Noting that the accused person abused privileges of education, Justice Faji therefore sentenced him to five years custodian jail without option fine. In his reaction, Shamaki applauded the judgement adding the right message had been sent to other fake drugs manufacturers that there was no safe haven for them to carry out their nefarious activities.