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King Sunny Ade: former guitarist was jailed for drug trafficking

 

A veteran guitarist, Fatoke Abiodun, was on Tuesday sentenced to three years imprisonment for drug trafficking at the Federal High Court, Lagos.

 

The 62-year-old Abiodun was a former guitarist with King Sunny Ade, a foremost Nigerian musician.

 

Abiodun had pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful exportation of 1.575kg of cocaine during his arraignment on February 26, 2013.

 

Prior to the judgment, defence counsel, Mr. Bayo Onifade, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as Abiodun was a husband of three wives with 12 children.

According to Punch Newspapers, Justice S. Seidu, however, sentenced the convict to three years imprisonment with effect from the date of arrest.

Seidu said, “The appeal of the defence counsel has been taken into consideration and the fact that the convict pleaded guilty as charged without wasting the time of the court was also carefully considered.”

 

Abiodun was apprehended by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency on January 1, 2013, at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

 

Abiodun, who played guitar for music star, King Sunny Ade, for over three decades, was caught while attempting to board an Air France flight to Italy.

 

During a search, two parcels of cocaine weighing 1.575kg were found hidden in the false bottom of his luggage.

 

Abiodun had blamed poverty for his predicament.

 

He said, “I can play any kind of guitar but my music career is a sad story. I played for King Sunny Ade for 30 years before I was unceremoniously retired in 2007 without severance benefit. I was unprepared for it and I saw the bitter side of life. This is my first time of trafficking drugs. I did it out of frustration because at my age, I could not provide for my family. I am ashamed of myself.”

 

Chairman of NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, however, said stiffer penalty should be meted out to drug offenders.

 

Giade said, “Punishment must be commensurate with offence to serve as a deterrent to others. The drug is worth millions of naira and the damage to humanity cannot be quantified.”

 

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