Justice I. M. Sanni, of the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo on Friday sentenced two Cameroonians, Ebwe Michael and Ngu Tiku to 18 years imprisonment each for illegally acquiring Nigerian Passports.
Sanni, however, gave the defendants an option to pay N500,000 each as fine.
The Judge while sentencing the convicts said that the court was lenient on them because they pleaded guilty and did not waste the time of the court.
He also said that the convicts were first offenders.
Sanni ordered that if the convicts failed to pay the fine, they will serve their sentences in Nigeria and would be deported after completion of their sentences.
Speaking to newsmen after the ruling, the prosecution counsel, Mr David Babale, said the first convict, Michael, 43, in 2012 acquired a Nigerian passport without being detected.
Babale said luck, however, ran out on him when he came for re-issue in March 2018 with the second defendant, Tiku, 35. when they were caught by a vigilant Immigration Officer in Uyo.
Also speaking, the defence counsel, Mr Mfon Uyoh, said he was satisfied with the judgment.
According to him, the Judge was lenient with the accused because they pleaded guilty and did not waste the time of the court.
“It was a good judgment in the sense that the judge has to be lenient on the convicts. He did not impose the maximum sentence on them.
“They are remorseful, pleaded guilty and did not waste the time of the court,” he said.