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Singapore executes Nigerian, Malaysian for drug trafficking after rejection of appeals

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Abike Dabiri-Erewa

Abike Dabiri-Erewa

Presidency Expresses Regrets

Singapore yesterday executed two foreigners, including a Nigerian, Chijioke Stephen Obioha, for drug trafficking offences after their last-minute appeals were thrown out by the country’s top courts.

The Presidency expressed regret over the execution, describing it as “heartbreaking.”

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said this in a statement yesterday in Abuja through her Special Assistant on Media, Abdur-Rahman Balogun.

Obioha, 39, a former footballer hopeful, and Malaysian Devendran Supramaniam, 31, were both convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to death in 2008 and 2014, respectively.

Obioha was convicted of trafficking in 2.6 kilogrammes of cannabis, which is over five times the capital limit of 500 grammes.

He appealed against both his conviction and sentence, but the Court of Appeal dismissed this in 2010.

Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau said after death penalty laws were amended in 2013, Obioha was asked if he wanted to be considered for resentencing, but he declined.

However, before he was scheduled to hang in May this year, he changed his mind and decided to submit new evidence and be considered for resentencing.

The Court of Appeal rejected his request, but allowed a stay of execution to allow him time to file an application for resentencing.

Obioha then withdrew his resentencing application three months later, resulting in the court lifting the stay of execution.

On Wednesday, November 16, he again submitted an appeal for a stay of execution and to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment.

The appeal was heard and dismissed by the apex court on Thursday, November 17.

The Bureau said in a statement yesterday that Obioha “had been accorded full due process under the law.”

Two petitions for clemency to President Joko Widodo filed by him and by the High Commission of Nigeria were turned down.

Obioha, a graduate of Chemistry from the Benin University moved to Singapore in 2005 to join a football club.

Dabiri-Erewa, who said Obioha’s family was informed that his appeal for clemency had been rejected, described the sentence/execution as disturbing, despite repeated calls for Nigerians to desist from criminal activities, such as drug peddling.

She said there was nothing much that could be done other than to continue to appeal to the Singaporean authorities for clemency, saying: “Since Singapore is determined to enforce its laws as a deterrent to drug trafficking, which has reduced due to capital punishment, nothing much can be done except to continue to appeal.

“While we regret the death sentence passed on the Nigerian, we once again appeal to Nigerians to avoid crimes, like drug trafficking, especially in Asia, which has been declared zero tolerance.”


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