Senate Passes Death Sentence for Drug Offenders

The Nigerian Senate has passed a bill amending the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, which includes the provision of the death sentence for drug offenders in the country.

The resolution of the Senate to approve the death sentence for drug offenders came after considering a report from the Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, as well as Drugs and Narcotics, regarding the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

Presenting the report during plenary, Senator Mohammed Monguno, Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights & Legal Matters, outlined the key objectives of the bill, including updating the list of dangerous drugs, enhancing NDLEA operations, reviewing penalties, and facilitating the establishment of laboratories.

One significant amendment proposed was to Section 11 of the current act, which previously prescribed life imprisonment for offenses related to certain drugs. The amendment sought to replace this penalty with the death sentence.

While the committee’s report did not originally recommend the death penalty, Senator Ali Ndume proposed the upgrade from life imprisonment to the death penalty during the bill’s consideration.

During the clause-by-clause review of the bill, Deputy Senate President Barau Jibrin, who chaired the session, conducted a voice vote on the proposed amendment, declaring that the “ayes” had it. However, Senator Adams Oshiomhole objected, arguing that the “nays” had prevailed.

Oshiomhole emphasized the gravity of matters involving life and death, suggesting that the decision should not be rushed. Despite his objections, Barau maintained his ruling, stating that it was too late for Oshiomhole to call for a division immediately after the ruling.

Subsequently, the bill was read for the third time and passed by the Senate, thus approving the death penalty for drug offenders.