The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency on Tuesday arraigned a 23-year-old deaf and dumb man, Abass Hamed, for allegedly dealing in cannabis sativa, popularly called marijuana.
Hamed was arraigned before Justice Jude Dagat of a Federal High Court in Lagos where the one count levelled against him was interpreted to him by a sign language interpreter, Francis Peters.
He was accused of dealing in one kilogramme of the substance and was said to have been arrested by NDLEA operatives on February 18, 2014, along Agege Motor road, Agege, Lagos.
The NDLEA prosecutor, Mr. Jerry Aernan, told the court that the accused acted contrary to Section 11(c) of the National Drugs Laws Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and was liable to be punished under the same law.
Aernan told the court that Hammed had been in custody since 2014 because the NDLEA had difficulty getting a sign language interpreter to interpret the charge to the accused in court.
When the charge was eventually read and interpreted to him on Tuesday through hand signal, Hamed signified that he understood the charge but pleaded not guilty.
He also nodded his head in denial, when asked if he sniffed the substance.
Consequent upon Hamed’s not guilty plea, the prosecutor applied for an adjournment for commencement of trial.
Counsel for the accused, Mrs. O. Ozobia, did not object to the trial of her client, but urged the court to give a date for the hearing of his bail application.
Justice Dagat adjourned till November 5 and 7, 2016 for commencement of trial.