Senate approves death sentence for convicted drug barons

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The Nigerian Senate has approved a bill proposing the death penalty for drug trafficking, including importation, exportation, manufacturing, and dealing in hard drugs like cocaine and heroin.

This decision, part of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024, could potentially implicate President Bola Tinubu after he leaves office who has faced allegations of involvement in drug trafficking during his time in the United States.

The Senate’s firm stance on drug-related offenses marks a shift towards stricter penalties in Nigeria’s fight against drug trafficking.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024, seeks to increase the maximum punishment for drug-related offenses from life imprisonment to the death sentence. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, argued that the tougher penalty is necessary to address the drug problem that has severely affected Nigerian youths.

However, not all senators were in agreement with the decision. Former Edo State governor Adams Oshiomhole and Senator Sampson Ekong from Akwa Ibom State protested the ruling, citing concerns about the gravity of the death penalty. Despite their objections, the Senate went ahead to pass the bill for third reading.

According to Senator Mohammed Monguno, the lead chairman of the relevant committees, the Senate’s approval of the death sentence stands, regardless of any protests from lawmakers. The ruling of the presiding officer is final and represents the position of the Senate.

This development marks a significant shift in Nigeria’s approach to drug trafficking, aligning with international standards that impose the death penalty for such offenses. The implications of this bill, particularly for President Tinubu, will be closely watched in the coming days.

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