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Senate okays death penalty for drug traffickers

By News Desk

In a bid to stem the high rate of drug peddling and intake across Nigeria, the Senate has approved death penalty for anyone convicted of drug traffickers in the country.

The lawmakers argued that the life sentences previously approved by law appeared not curbing Nigerians from engaging in drug trafficking in the state.

This is sequel to the consideration of a report of the Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters and Drugs and Narcotics, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Mohammed Monguno, presented the report before the Senate during plenary on Thursday.

The bill, which passed third reading, is aimed at updating the list of dangerous drugs, strengthening the operations of the NDLEA, reviewing penalties, and empowering the establishment of laboratories.

Section 11 of the current act prescribes life sentence for drug traffickers found guilty of the offence by a competent court. But the 2024 bill sought an amendment to reflect a stiffer penalty which is death.

Although the report did not recommend a death penalty for the offence, during consideration, Senator Ali Ndume moved that the life sentence should be upgraded to the death penalty.

During a clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill, Deputy Senate President Barau Jibrin, who presided over the session, put the amendment on the death penalty to a voice vote and ruled that the “ayes” had it.

The decision, was however, countered another lawmaker, Adams Oshiomhole, who queried that the procedure adopted by his colleagues were improper.

Oshiomhole stressed that matters of life and death should not have been treated hurriedly, considering that such punishment is not mild.

However, Barau said it was too late as he failed to call for division immediately after his ruling.

The bill was subsequently read for the third time and passed by the Senate.

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