The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa has described the execution of a Nigerian in Singapore on Friday for drug related offences as heartbreaking. She also urged Nigerians to avoid drug trafficking which can result in similar executions.
In a statement issued in Abuja by her Special Assistant on Media, Abdur-Rahman Balogun ‘titled Execution of a Nigerian in Singapore, Heartbreaking – Dabiri-Erewa’ the SSA said the planned execution was heartbreaking despite repeated warnings to Nigerians to obey the laws of the land of their host countries.
Dabiri-Erewa said since Singapore determined to enforce its laws as a deterrent to drug trafficking, which has reduced as a result of its stringent capital punishment, nothing much can be done
“While we regret the death of 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 stated.
She reiterated her appeal to Nigerians to avoid drug peddling in their host countries, as the laws of such countries, whether acceptable or not, will be difficult to influence.
A Nigerian, Chijoke Obioha was caught in Singapore trafficking in hard drugs on December 30, 2008 with his execution slated for and carried out on Friday, November 18. Obioha was arrested with more than 2.6 kilogrammes of cannabis, surpassing the statutory amount of 500 grammes presumed as drug trafficking in Singapore on April 9, 2007.
The international watchdog, Amnesty International had called on Singapore to halt Friday’s planned execution of Obioha, a Nigerian national on death row for possession of drugs, a demand which was ignored. Obioha’s family was informed that his appeal for clemency was rejected.
Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South-East Asia and the Pacific, said: “The death penalty is never the solution. It will not rid Singapore of drugs. By executing people for drug-related offences, which do not meet the threshold of most serious crimes, Singapore is violating international law.
Under Singaporean law, when there is a presumption of drug possession and trafficking, the burden of proof shifts from the prosecutor to the defendant.
This violates the right to a fair trial by turning the presumption of innocence on its head. Drug-related offences do not meet the threshold of the “most serious crimes” to which the use of the death penalty must be restricted under international law.
International law also prohibits the imposition of the death penalty as a mandatory punishment and Amnesty International opposes the use of the death penalty outright, regardless of the crime.