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Senate Approves Death Penalty For Drug Trafficking



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The Nigerian Senate voted on Thursday to introduce the death penalty for drug traffickers convicted in the country.

News About Nigeria reports that the development signifies a shift from the current law, which prescribes a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for such offences.

The decision came after lawmakers debated a report presented by the Senate Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters, Drugs, and Narcotics, focusing on the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

Senator Mohammed Monguno (APC-Borno North), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, led the presentation of the bill, which aimed to achieve several goals.

These included updating the list of illegal drugs, strengthening the NDLEA’s capabilities, adjusting penalties for drug offences, and facilitating the establishment of new drug testing laboratories.

The most controversial change involved Section 11 of the existing NDLEA Act.

Previously, this section stipulated life imprisonment for anyone found guilty of illegally importing, manufacturing, or cultivating specific dangerous drugs, including cocaine, LSD, and heroin.

The proposed amendment sought to replace the life sentence with the death penalty.

While the committee’s report did not advocate for the death penalty, it sparked debate during the Senate session.

Senator Ali Ndume proposed an amendment to upgrade the existing life sentence to capital punishment. During a detailed clause-by-clause review of the bill, Deputy Senate President Barau Jibrin, who presided over the session, put the death penalty amendment to a voice vote.

He declared that the “ayes,” those in favour, had the majority.

However, Senator Adams Oshiomhole challenged the ruling, arguing that the “nays,” those opposed, actually held the majority.

According to Oshiomhole, the matter should be carefully deliberated as it involves life and death.

However, Deputy President Jibrin countered that Oshiomhole had missed the opportunity to request a formal division immediately after the initial voice vote.

Following the debate, the Senate proceeded to read the amended bill for a third and final time before ultimately passing it.

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