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Senate Endorses Death Penalty for Drug Traffickers in Nigeria Amidst Amendments to NDLEA Act

May 9, 2024

 

 

In a watershed moment for Nigeria’s legal landscape, the Senate has approved the inclusion of the death penalty as a punishment for drug traffickers, signaling a significant shift in the nation’s approach to combating drug-related offenses. The decision, made during the third reading of the 2024 NDLEA Act (Amendment) Bill, marks a pivotal development in the ongoing efforts to strengthen the country’s anti-narcotics legislation.

During a session held on Thursday, the Senate convened into a committee of the whole to meticulously examine the report presented by Senator Tahir Munguno, Chairman of the Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights & Legal Matters, and Drugs & Narcotics. It was during this review that Senator Peter Nwebonyi proposed an amendment to introduce the death penalty for drug traffickers, replacing the previously stipulated life sentence under clause 11 of the amendment bill.

Initial indications from a voice vote suggested a divided opinion among senators regarding the proposed amendment. However, after deliberations, the Deputy Senate President ultimately ruled in favor of the amendment, eliciting a mixture of approval and dissent among lawmakers present, including Senator Adams Oshiomhole.

Senator Oshiomhole voiced his concerns about the perceived haste in considering and passing the amendment clause, reflecting broader debates surrounding the implications of such a drastic legislative measure. Nevertheless, the Deputy Senate President maintained that objections were raised too late in accordance with procedural rules.

In addition to addressing drug-related offenses, the Senate also embarked on a comprehensive review of the salaries, allowances, and benefits of judicial office holders in Nigeria. This initiative, aimed at enhancing judicial independence and combating corruption within the judiciary, saw unanimous support from lawmakers during the bill’s second reading.

The executive bill, which seeks to adjust salaries to reflect current socio-economic conditions, has been referred to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters for further scrutiny. A comprehensive report on the proposed amendments is expected within four weeks, underscoring the Senate’s commitment to fostering transparency and accountability across all branches of government.

As Nigeria navigates the complexities of legislative reform, the decisions made by the Senate reflect a concerted effort to address pressing challenges and uphold the principles of justice and equity in society.

 

Credit: Parallel Facts

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