Two Sentenced To 12 & 6 Months Imprisonments In Niger State For Selling Alcohol

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By; Bala B. Bitrus, Minna
After nearly a decade of silence and laying in limbo, the laws banning the consumption, sales and distribution of liquor in Niger state have been awaken, rejigged and given fresh teeth even as two defaulters head to prisons. 
Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Minna presided over by Abdullahi Usman Tuesday sentenced a man, Baba Abuja to 12 months imprisonment and Asabe Solomon for selling alcohol in the open markets in Paiko town of Paikoro local government area of Niger state in contravention of the Sharia laws of the state.
 
The laws on the prohibition of sales, consumption, production and distribution of liquor was gazetted in the laws of the state by the late Governor Abdulkadir Abdullahi Kure’s regime in 2002.
The laws are contained under the Sharia laws of the state and it prohibits the sale, consumption and distribution of liquor within prohibited areas of the state allowing the sales, consumption and distribution of liquor only within some parameters and precincts such as Military, Police Barracks and such facilities.
The two accused, Mr. Baba Abuja and Madame Asabe Solomon were however given options to either pay the sum of N200, 000 and N50, 000 respectively or go to jail for 12 months and six months for contravening the anti liquor laws. 
The accused were arrested and arraigned before the Court by the Head of Operations and Enforcement of Niger State Liquor and Licensing Board. Baba Abuja had pleaded guilty to the charges of selling alcohol within prohibited area.       

The arrest and prosecution of Baba Abuja was sequel to complaints and petition by some concerned residents of Paiko who had cried out to the Governor against the continuous activities of the accused  despite subsisting laws against the the sales and consumption of alcohol in the state.
Based on this complaint, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello then directed the Chairman of the state’s Liqour Licensing Board, Barrister Yahaya Halidu to commence the enforcement of the petition in accordance with the liquor law which led to the arrest of the accused and subsequent prosecution and arraignment before the Chief Magistrate Court.

Baba Abuja while asking for lienancy, had pleaded guilty to the charges. He implored the court to temper justice with mercy.                                   

Items recovered from the accused and tendered as exhibits against the accused include cartons of Guilder Beer, local gins, cartons of Star larger Beer and different brands of Stout totaling about 20 cartons.                       

The presiding Magistrate thereby sentenced the accused to 12 months imprisonment with an option of fine of N200, 000.         

In the same court, a female liqour vendor, Asabe Solomon was prosecuted for the offence of production, sales of alcohol. For her offence, she bagged 6 months imprisonment with an option of N50, 000 (Fifty thousand Naira) fine for selling alcohol in Gbadna village also in Paiko.                   

Asabe who appeared before the Chief Magistrate, Abdullahi Usman over charges of selling locally brewed liquor popularly called, Burukutu without valid licence from the state government, also pleaded guilty.         

Asabe, while pleading guilty, begged 
the Court to consider her age and grant her mercy. She promised to look for alternative trade or business for her sustenance and upkeep.

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