Nigerian lawmakers, activists divided over drug abuse penalties

Nigerian lawmakers, activists divided over drug abuse penalties

Abuja — 

Human rights activists in Nigeria are criticizing a brand new bid put ahead by Nigerian lawmakers to punish drug trafficking with the demise penalty.

The proposed measure is a part of authorities’ efforts to escalate a crackdown on drug abuse and trafficking.

The regulation, if handed, would permit judges to difficulty the demise sentence to folks convicted of manufacturing, supplying or promoting narcotics. At present, the utmost sentence is life in jail.

The Nigerian Senate adopted the invoice on Thursday, regardless of opposition by some lawmakers who raised considerations about the opportunity of wrongly sentencing and executing an harmless individual.

Human rights group Amnesty Worldwide additionally criticized the brand new measure. Aminu Hayatu is a researcher for the human rights group.

“It is a regressive legislative try by the Nigerian lawmakers. As soon as somebody’s life has ended, they’ve misplaced the chance to dwell to inform the reality. We additionally want to take a look at the historical past of our prosecutions over time. There have been fairly quite a few errors. In Nigeria, Amnesty Worldwide has had a persistent name in opposition to [the] demise penalty. And other than that, the worldwide marketing campaign in opposition to that’s really consistent with the promotion of human rights,” stated Hayatu.

However not each voice is in opposition to the invoice. Supporters say the regulation might show to be a more practical deterrent in comparison with a life sentence.

Ibrahim Abdullahi is the founding father of Muslim Media Watch Group, one of many organizations supporting the invoice.

“It appears as if the punishment as contained within the regulation that we now have presently [has] not served as deterrent sufficient. Fortunately, over 20 nations throughout the entire world made [the] demise penalty because the punishment for drug trafficking. So, if Nigeria follows go well with, it isn’t an excessive amount of. So, I see it as an excellent step to function [a] deterrent to peddlers of medication,” he stated.

The Nigerian Senate and Home of Representatives should approve the modification earlier than it may be despatched to the president to signal into regulation.

The nation is seeing an rising development of drug abuse and has in recent times gone from being a transit nation to a hub of the drug commerce.

Nigeria’s Nationwide Drug Regulation Enforcement Company says over 14 million Nigerians use unlawful medicine. The bulk use locally-grown hashish, however many others use cocaine, heroin, or amphetamine-type stimulants.

FILE - A vendor cuts cannabis popularly known as marijuana for sale in Lagos, on Nov. 11, 2019.

FILE – A vendor cuts hashish popularly often called marijuana on the market in Lagos, on Nov. 11, 2019.

The drug commerce is usually fueled by lack of respectable financial alternatives.

Abdullahi stated apart from including the demise penalty, corruption also needs to be addressed.

“You’ll be able to’t battle drug dependancy with out combating corruption. Now that this regulation is about to be promulgated, extra stringent legal guidelines ought to be made to battle corruption in Nigeria in order that officers who’re responsible of taking bribes to hide crimes or to not prosecute diligently may also be handled severely. So, as we battle drug trafficking, we must always battle the attendant corruption,” he stated.

Greater than 3,000 Nigerians are on demise row for varied offenses — the best quantity on this planet. Rights activists have been campaigning to alter that and compel authorities to abolish the demise penalty.

However they are saying proposing the demise penalty for extra offenses solely makes issues worse.

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