The government of Singapore in the early hours of Friday, executed a Nigerian Chijioke Stephen Obioha, 35, for drug related offences.
Chijoke was first arrested on April 9 2007 and sentenced to the Mandatory Death Penalty in 2008 after being found guilty of trafficking more 2.6 kilogrammes of cannabis.
Following the announcement of the decision to execute him, Chijioke’s lawyer, Joseph Chen filed an Urgent Criminal Motion at the Court of Appeal but it was dismissed.
According to a Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign member Ravi MRavi, Chijioke’s execution is ‘possibly the longest delay between sentencing and execution’ as he spent about 8 years on death row.
Ravi wrote on Facebook:
This morning, at 6am, the execution of Chijioke Stephen Obioha took place. I am not even sure if his family from Nigeria were able to attend. Soon it will be all forgotten together with Chijioke’s name, but for the many of us who fight and campaign to eradicate this barbaric practice of death by hanging, and for those of us who challenge the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking in Singapore, our work will go on. And it must
Update: I’m currently arranging with the Roman Catholic Prison Ministry ( RCPM) to claim the body of Chijioke from the Singapore Prisons Service for a proper funeral in accordance with his religious beliefs.The funeral will take place either today or tomorrow depending on how soon the SPS could release the body.
The execution went against calls from the United Nations, European Union, and Amnesty International that his sentencing should be changed to life imprisonment.
Chijioke was graduate of Industrial Chemistry from the University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria, and first went to Singapore for football trial.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, had earlier described the sentencing as “heartbreaking”.
Dabiri-Erewa said this in a statement she issued on Thursday in Abuja through her Special Assistant on Media, Abdur-Rahman Balogun.
Dabiri-Erewa said Obioha’s family was informed that his appeal for clemency had been rejected.
She described the sentence as disturbing despite repeated calls for Nigerians to desist from criminal activities such as drug peddling.
Dabiri-Erewa said there was nothing much that could be done other than to continue to appeal to the Singaporean authorities for clemency.
“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,’’ she had said.
She had urged Nigerians to avoid drug peddling in their host countries as laws of countries, “no matter its merits, will be difficult to influence’’.