Nigeria’s Senate Approves Death Penalty for Drug Trafficking Offenders


On Thursday, May 9, the Senate passed a resolution to impose the death penalty on individuals convicted of drug trafficking in Nigeria. This decision amends the existing NDLEA Act, which previously prescribed a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for the offense.

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The Senate’s decision followed the consideration of a report presented by the Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, and Drugs and Narcotics, on the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024. Senator Mohammed Monguno (APC-Borno North), the Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights & Legal Matters, presented the report during the plenary session.

The bill, which passed its third reading, aims to update the list of dangerous drugs, enhance the operations of the NDLEA, review penalties, and facilitate the establishment of laboratories. Specifically, Section 11 of the current act, which deals with offenses related to drugs like cocaine, LSD, and heroin, was amended to impose the death penalty on offenders.

Although the committee’s report did not initially recommend the death penalty, Senator Ali Ndume proposed the amendment during the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill. Deputy Senate President Barau Jibrin, presiding over the session, put the amendment to a voice vote, ruling in favor of the death penalty.

However, Senator Adams Oshiomhole objected to the ruling, arguing that matters of life and death should not be rushed. Despite his objection, Barau maintained his ruling, stating that it was too late to call for a division. Consequently, the bill was read for the third time and passed by the Senate.

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