The Nigerian Senate has passed a bill prescribing the death penalty for persons convicted of dealing in banned substances (drugs) in the country.

The resolution was adopted on Thursday during the consideration of the report of the committees on Judiciary, Human and Legal Matters and Drugs and Narcotics, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024 (HB. 472).

According to clause 11 of the amended Section of the NDLEA Act, “dealing with storage, custody of dangerous drugs is amended by deleting the ambiguous word ‘concerned’ and replacing it with the word ‘involved’ for clarity, as the word ‘involved’ conveys a broader range of activities related to storage, holding, moving, transporting, or concealing dangerous controlled substances. It encompasses various levels of participation in activities.”

During the clause-by-clause consideration, the Senate assented to a motion moved by Senator Ali Ndume (Borno South), who urged the Senate to replace “Life Imprisonment” with “Death Penalty” for convicted offenders.

Senator Ndume’s motion was seconded by his deputy, Peter Onyekachi Nwebonyi (Ebonyi North).

“I support the punishment. The only way to eradicate drugs is to nip it in the bud,” Senator Ndume stated.

Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin, subjected the motion to a voice vote, after which a majority of the Lawmakers chorused “Aiyes” in favor of the motion.

Efforts to review the motion by Senators Adams Oshiomhole (Edo North) and Akpan Ekong Sampson (Akwa-Ibom South) were unsuccessful as the Deputy Senate President informed them that the Amendment had already been passed.

Senator Oshiomhole argued, “I have the responsibility for every law. This is a matter of life and death, I don’t believe that the ‘Ayes’ have it.”

The NDLEA Amendment Act received the signatures of 24 Lawmakers (Members of the committee) and was subsequently granted 3rd reading after intensive debate.


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