Senate approves death penalty for drug traffickers

Sharon EboesomiMay 10, 20243 min

Senator Ali Ndume urged the Senate to replace “life imprisonment” with “death penalty” for convicted drug offenders.

Senate approves death penalty for drug traffickers

The Senate has approved the death penalty for those convicted on the charge of drug trafficking in the country, despite the current NDLEA Act which stipulates a maximum penalty of life in prison as the punishment.

This resolution followed the consideration of a report of the Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters and Drugs and Narcotics, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024, presented by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno North) during Thursday’s plenary.

The bill, which passed its third reading, intends to update the list of prohibited substances, enhance NDLEA activities, reevaluate fines, and authorise laboratory establishments.

Section 11 of the current act prescribes that “any person who, without lawful authority, imports, manufactures, produces, processes, plants or grows the drugs popularly known as cocaine, LSD, heroin or any other similar drugs shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for life” was amended to reflect a stiffer penalty of death.

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The report did not recommend a death penalty for the offence, however, during the clause-by-clause consideration, the Senate assented to a motion moved by Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), who urged the Senate to replace “life imprisonment” with “death penalty” for convicted offenders.

He said, “I support the punishment. The only way to eradicate drugs is to nip it in the bud.”

Senator Ndume’s motion was seconded by his deputy, Peter Onyekachi Nwebonyi (Ebonyi North).

Following this recommendation, the  Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin, who presided over the plenary, put the amendment on the death penalty to a voice vote and ruled that the “ayes” had it.

On the contrary, Senator Adams Oshiomhole objected to the ruling, arguing that matters of life and death should not be treated hurriedly.

He said, “I have the responsibility for every law. This is a matter of life and death, I don’t believe that the ‘Ayes’ have it.”

However, Barau said it was too late because he had not promptly called for the division immediately after his ruling. The bill was thereafter read for the third time and passed by the Senate.

Sharon Eboesomi

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