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Senate Passes Bill Endorsing Death Sentence For Drug Trafficking 

The Nigerian Senate has endorsed death as a penalty for trafficking in hard drugs and substances in the country. 

This legislative move came amidst protests by some lawmakers during the passage of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Amendment Bill 2024.

The bill, which also prescribes a maximum of 15 years imprisonment without the option of a fine for conviction on drug consumption, was passed following the adoption of the report by the Senate Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, and Drugs and Narcotics during a plenary session.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Mohammed Monguno (APC-Borno), presented the report, outlining the objectives of the amendment. 

Monguno explained that the amendment aims to bolster the operations of the NDLEA by empowering it to establish forensic laboratories, update the list of dangerous drugs, review penalties, and enhance prosecutorial powers for drug-related offenses.

During deliberations, Senator Ali Ndume (APC-Borno) proposed an amendment to clause 11 of the bill, which initially prescribed life imprisonment for drug trafficking. 

Ndume advocated for stiffer penalties and moved a motion to introduce the death sentence as punishment for offenders.

 This motion was seconded by Senator Onyekachi Nwaebonyi (APC-Ebonyi), who underscored the devastating impact of drug trafficking on the nation.

The decision to adopt death penalty for drug trafficking was put to a voice vote, with the majority in favor. 

Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau Jubrin (APC-Kano), presiding over the session, ruled in favor of the motion. However, Senator Adams Oshiomhole (APC-Edo) objected to the ruling, expressing concern about the gravity of decisions involving life and death.

In response, Senator Barau defended the ruling, stating that the decision was based on the voice vote of members.

 He advised Senator Oshiomhole that calling for a division immediately after the clause on death sentence was adopted would have been the appropriate course of action.

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