⦿ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Isiaka Mumini v. Federal Republic Of Nigeria (2018) – SC
– Indian hemp;
Federal Republic Of Nigeria
⦿ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
– Ejembi Eko, J.S.C.
* FOR THE APPELLANT
– Ayodeji O. Omotoso, Esq.
* FOR THE RESPONDENT
– J.N. Sunday, Esq.
⦿ FACT (as relating to the issues)
The appellant was charged before the Federal High Court on a one count charge of dealing in 10kg of cannabis sativa (otherwise known as Indian Hemp), a drug similar to cocaine, heroin, LSD etc without lawful authority thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 11(c) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Cap.N30 LFN 2004.
His conviction and sentence, upon appeal to the Court of Appeal (the Lower Court) where the sole issue was about the jurisdiction of the trial Court, were affirmed by the Lower Court. The lower court affirmed that the trial Federal High Court has the jurisdiction.
He has further appealed to this honourable Supreme Court.
1. Whether having cognizance of the charge preferred against the Appellant at the trial Court, the Court below was correct when it upheld the decision of the said trial Court that it was seised of the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the proceedings undertaken pursuant thereto.
⦿ HOLDING & RATIO DECIDENDI
1. ISSUE 1 WAS RESOLVED IN FAVOUR OF THE RESPONDENT BUT AGAINST THE APPELLANT.
i. The offence of dealing in or importing Indian Hemp under Section 3(2) of the Indian Hemp Act is clearly, by dint of Section 8(1) of the Act, not within the jurisdiction vested in the Magistrate’s Court. The offences within the jurisdiction of the Magistrate’s Court are those having to do with possession, selling and smoking, including being in possession of “any pipe or other utensil for use in connection with the smoking of Indian Hemp” or permitting, by the occupier, the use of any premises for the purpose of selling, preparing and/or the smoking of Indian Hemp. The offences under Sections 4-7 of the Indian Hemp Act are those in respect of which the Act vests jurisdiction in the Magistrate’s Courts to entertain. The jurisdiction is not stated expressly to be exclusive to the Magistrate’s Court. Thus, as what is not expressly prohibited is implicitly permitted; the jurisdiction of the High Court having not been expressly prohibited is by implication permitted.
ii. I am of the firm view that Section 26(1) of the NDLEA Act, 2004 is very clear and unambiguous in its provisions that “the Federal High Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to try offences under” the NDLEA Act. That jurisdiction is not shared with the Magistrate’s Court whether or not the charge is under Sections 11(c) or 20(1)(b) of the NDLEA Act, 2004. The offence, that is dealing in 10kg of cannabis sativa (Indian Hemp) a narcotic drug similar to cocaine, heroine, or L.S.D. etc. contrary to and punishable under Section 11(c) of the NDLEA Act, 2004, is one directly within the jurisdiction expressly vested in the Federal High Court by the NDLEA Act, 2004.
⦿ SOME PROVISIONS
Section 8(1) of the Indian Hemp Act provides: “Every Magistrate in any part of Nigeria shall, NOTWITHSTANDING ANYTHING CONTAINED IN ANY ENACTMENT, have jurisdiction for the summary trial of any offence under Sections 4 -7 of this Act and may impose the Punishment provided by this Act for such an offence.”
⦿ RELEVANT CASE(S)
⦿ RELATED CASE(S)
OKEWU v. FRN (2012) 9 NWLR (Pt.1305) 327 (SC);
⦿ NOTABLE DICTA
I think it has to be borne in mind that the choice of the charge to prefer against the accused person on a given set of facts is the prerogative of the prosecutor. Neither the Court nor the accused person can interfere with the prerogative of the prosecutor in this regard. – Ejembi Eko, JSC. Mumini v. FRN (2018)
Under no circumstance will the accused person dictate to the prosecution what charge shall be preferred or what witness(es) shall be fielded against him in discharge of the prosecutor’s prosecutorial responsibilities. – Ejembi Eko, JSC. Mumini v. FRN (2018)
Stare decisis et non quela movera, which means standing by what has been decided and not to disturb and unsettle things already established, is a doctrine employed in adjudication to promote consistency and certainty in the law. – Ejembi Eko, JSC. Mumini v. FRN (2018)
They are also narcotic drugs hence, they are prohibited by Law. In other words, Cocaine, LSD, Heroine and Indian hemp are prohibited in the same way because they are all drugs that alter one’s perception or consciousness hence the prohibition by law. As a result, I am not in the slighted doubt and I hereby say with conviction that the Court below was right to hold that the substance called Indian Hemp, otherwise known as Cannabis Sativa falls within the phrase “any other similar drugs” used in Section 10(h) of the NDLEA Act pursuant to which the appellant was charged, convicted and sentenced by the tribunal. – Chima Centus, JSC. Mumini v. FRN (2018)