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Court Frees Okada Rider Who Pleaded Guilty To Drug Deal

Reprieve came the way of a commercial motorcyclist, popularly known as Okada rider, Reuben Ashade, as Justice Akintayo Aluko of the Federal High Court in Lagos discharged and acquitted him after ignorantly pleaded guilty to illegally dealing in hard drugs.

Justice Aluko freed Ashade after finding no evidence linking him with the charge of drug trafficking brought against him by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) crime.

The judge found that the defendant, who had pleaded guilty ignorantly at the prompting of his lawyer, Oreofe Ogunleye, cannot be linked to the facts of the case, the NDLEA’s evidence and that his testimony showed that he was not guilty of the offence.

Based on these, the judge suo moto (on his own) discarded Ashade’s plea.
The NDLEA had through one of its lawyers, Ade Adebayo informed the court that the defendant was arrested at Ashade Compound, Ashipa, near the Seme border.

The agency had alleged that the defendant on November 26, 2023, at Customs Checkpoint Yard, before Gbaji Village, Badagry Local Government Area of Lagos State, unlawfully dealt in “2kg of marijuana otherwise known as ‘Cannabis Sativa’ a narcotic drug similar to Cocaine, Heroin or LSD, an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 11C of the NDLEA Act, 2004.”

After listening to the charge, the defendant pleaded guilty.

But the proceedings took a dramatic twist when the judge asked the defendant why he committed the offence and he denied committing the crimes.

Ashade said: “I am an okada rider who operates within the Badagry and Seme border. A man engaged my services to carry him to Badagry from the border, which was what I and other okada riders do.

“He boarded my bike and, on our way, we saw a Customs checkpoint. The man jumped down from the bike and ran away.’’

When Justice Aluko asked Ashade why he then pleaded guilty, the defendant said that he was told to do so.

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