Senate approves death penalty for drug crimes

By Samuel Ogunsona

The Nigerian Senate has approved a bill to amend the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Act to include death penalty as maximum punishment to drug offenders.

The bill is titled “National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024.”

The punishment meted for people who import hard drugs into the country also includes persons in its production, local distribution, transportation and sales.

Among the substances listed in the new bill approved by the Senate are heroin and cocaine.

However, before the amendment, the maximum punishment for drug traffickers in Nigeria was life imprisonment.

During the debate of the bill on Thursday at the Senate House, the Senate Chief Whip, Ali Ndume, said the punishment should be “toughened”.

Hear him “This should be changed to the death sentence. This is the standard worldwide. We have to do this to address this drug problem that has seriously affected our youth.

“It should be toughened beyond life imprisonment. It should be the death sentence, either by hanging or any other way,” Ndume said.

However, Adams Oshiomhole (Former Edo State Governor) among other few other senators objected the bill proposal saying he hardly make jokes when it comes to life and death.

“This is lawmaking. We are not here to take voice votes,” Oshiomhole stated.

Sampson Ekong, representing Akwa Ibom South Senatorial district also attempted to challenge the majority’s decision but was ruled out.

The bill has been approved for the third hearing by the House.

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