By Adebayo Williams
Singapore has executed a Nigerian, Chijioke Stephen Obioha, for trafficking cannabis. Obioha, who was convicted in 2007, had left Nigeria for the Asian country to launch his football career. He was arrested in possession of over two kilograms of cannabis. The country only permits a maximum of 500 grams at any given time.
Obioha was executed on Friday around 6am despite pleas for clemency. Reports say his family in Nigeria was notified that the appeal was turned down and their son would be killed.
Ravi MRavi, an activist with Eugene Thuraisingam, a legal firm in Singapore, who posted the execution on his Facebook wall said it took place around 6am.
”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.
”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,” he said.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who described the execution as heartbreaking, appealed to Nigerians to avoid drug peddling in countries with strict laws such as the death penalty. She said such countries’ decisions were difficult to influence.