By Adedayo Adejobi
No fewer than 81 more Nigerians in Malaysia and 15 in Indonesia are awaiting execution after they had been convicted on drug related offences in the two countries just as one Chijioke Stephen Obioha was executed in Singapore yesterday.
Drug offences in those countries carry the death penalty.
THISDAY has reliably learnt from sources in the Malaysian Embassy that the Malaysia government had repeatedly complained to the Drug Law Enforcement Agency of Nigeria of what had become almost an epidemic proportion of Nigerians who traffic in the deadly cargo but all appear to have fallen on deaf ears as the number of arrests had been on a steady increase.
Last week, Indonesia executed another Nigerian without fanfare as was contained in notes exchanged when Nigeria’s drug law agency officials visited Indonesia recently.
Obioha’s execution was inspite of global cries and appeals which followed the failure of his appeal to their apex court after conviction. The apex court threw out his final appeal.
Malaysia complained that the new tactics that the Nigerians were using to traffic and vend hard drugs was through chat groups on social media.
However, a Nigerian resident in Singapore said while the figure might be correct, only three Nigerians were on death row there , one had been sentenced to 15 years and two others yet to be sentenced
The executed Nigerian was arrested on April 9, 2007 with more than 2.6 kilograms of cannabis which was above the statutory quantity of 500 grams presumed as drug trafficking in Singapore.
Former lawmaker and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, lamented the execution as heartbreaking and appealed to Nigerians to avoid drug trafficking.
“While we regret the death sentence passed on the Nigerian, we once again appeal to Nigerians to avoid crimes like drug trafficking with most countries especially in Asia declaring zero tolerance for drug trafficking”, she said.
The execution of Obioha was reported by one Ravi MRavi, an activist with Eugene Thuraisingam, a legal firm in Singapore, who posted the execution on his Facebook wall said it took place around 6am.
“This morning, at 6am, the execution of Chijioke Stephen Obioha took place. I am not even sure if his family from Nigeria were able to attend. Soon it will be all forgotten together with Chijioke’s name, but for the many of us who fight and campaign to eradicate this barbaric practice of death by hanging, and for those of us who challenge the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking in Singapore, our work will go on. And it must.
“I’m currently arranging with the Roman Catholic Prison Ministry (RCPM) to claim the body of Chijioke from the Singapore Prisons Service for a proper funeral in accordance with his religious beliefs.
The funeral will take place either today or tomorrow depending on how soon the SPS could release the body”, he lamented.