Senate Okays Death Penalty for Manufacturers of Dangerous Drugs

10th May 2024

The Senate has approved death penalty as punishment for those involved in the manufacture, and processing of dangerous drugs as well as traffickers of hard drugs in the country.

It also approved 15 years imprisonment without the option of fine for those who consume the hard drugs, given the havoc being created by substance and drug abuse in this country.

The approvals by the upper chamber were sequel to the consideration of the report of the committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters and Drugs and Narcotics on the amendment of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024 (HB. 472) presented by Senator Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno North).

According to the Senate, the amendment became very imperative because majority of youths were engaged in substance abuse, sometimes innocently as a result of peer group influence.

Prior to the passage, the Senate dissolved into a Committee of the Whole for a clause-by-clause consideration of the report.

During the review process of the committee‘s recommendations and especially concerning the issue of the penalty provisions towards strengthening the operations of the agency, a proposed amendment to a death sentence for drug traffickers, rather than just a life sentence, was raised by the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), and the Deputy Whip, Senator Peter Nwebonyi (APC, Ebonyi North) under clause 11.

When the matter was put to a voice vote, it appeared the nays had it. However, when the question was put to a second vote, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Barau Jibrin (APC, Kano North), who presided, ruled in favour of the ‘I’s.

At that point, a slight raucous ensued, as some lawmakers were displeased, especially Senator Adams Oshiomhole (APC, Edo North), who expressed displeasure over what he considered a hasty consideration and passage of the amended clause.

Oshiomhole cautioned the Senate to be careful with any law that dealt with life, saying: “Anything that deals with life, we should be careful.”

Barau Jibrin then outrightly rejected the objection raised by Oshiomhole to reverse the ruling, insisting that it came late, which was against the rules as a division would have been called for.

The Deputy Senate President, who noted that Oshiomhole would have called for a divide, said: “I’m sorry my former national chairman, you should have called for a divide, it is your right, but we have passed it.”

Also, Senator Sampson Ekong (PDP, Akwa Ibom South), tried to come under “personal explanation” to disapprove of the provision, but Jibrin ruled him out of order.

The bill, which originated from the House of Representatives, would be sent to President Bola Tinubu for assent if there are no differences between the two chambers of the National Assembly.

Addressing journalists after the amendment, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mohammed Monguno, said: “The import of the amendment of the NDLEA Act as passed by the Senate today (yesterday) and particularly with regards to the provision for punishment, is that the Senate in its wisdom decided to prescribe the punishment of death sentence for people who engage in the manufacturing and processing of hard drugs.”

“But for the people that engage in the consumption of these hard drugs, I think the Senate in its wisdom decided to prescribe jail term, because of the havoc being created by substance and drug abuse in this country, which if not nipped in the bud, have the potential of destroying the future of this country.

“This is because it is the majority of the youths are engaged in drug and substance abuse, sometimes innocently as a result of peer group influence.