Justice B.O. Quadri of the Federal High Court, Abuja has sentenced a 55-year-old female pilgrim, Basirat Iyabo Binuyo, caught last September smuggling 76 pellets of cocaine weighing 931 grammes to Medina, Saudi Arabia to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour with effect from Monday.
In his judgement, Quadri said the sentence should serve as a deterrent to others.
Besides, he said that the hard labour was added because the convict failed to reveal the identity of her sponsors.
Binuyo tested positive to narcotic ingestion at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, while on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia last September.
She was immediately placed under observation by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, during she excreted 76 pellets of substances found to be cocaine.
The NDLEA commander at the Abuja airport, Hamisu Lawan, said the convict hails from Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State.
She is married with three children and a trader at Dosumu Market, Lagos.
In her statement to the NDLEA, she agreed to smuggling the drugs for a fee.
Binuyo wrote: “I am a trader in Lagos, married with three children.
“I wanted to expand my cosmetic business but I have no money.
“My sponsor offered to foot my expenses to Saudi on pilgrimage.
“I was excited until I was asked to take drugs along.
“I wanted to decline but considering the offer of a million naira, I accepted.
“I swallowed the drugs in Lagos and took flight to Abuja on my way to Medina, but I was caught in the process.”
The Chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency, Colonel Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd), while applauding the sentence, warned against drug trafficking.
Abdallah said: “The war against drug trafficking in Nigeria is on course. Stopping the woman from going to Saudi with the drugs was highly commendable and the punishment is right. No drug traffickers shall go unpunished.”