Federal Govt hails Singapore’s court decision to free Nigerian on death row

President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari in an interview with NTA on May 27.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari 

The Federal Government has commended the decision of the Supreme Court of Singapore to free a Nigerian, Mr Adili Ejike, who was earlier sentenced to death for drug trafficking in the country.

The Acting Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Akpan Friday said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.

Ejike was arrested in 2011 and sentenced to death for importing nearly 2-kilogramme of methamphetamine into Singapore.

He was granted an acquittal by the Singaporean apex court on May 27, 2019 and released with no outstanding charges.

Akpan said the Ministry rejoiced with the family of Ejike for the favourable judgment.

“The ministry also warned Nigerians travelling abroad not to accept to travel with any bag or container that they have not personally packed by themselves for the journey,’’ he said.

He quoted the High Commission of Nigeria in Singapore, Mr Akinremi Bolaji, as saying that “Ejike’s acquittal made history as the first time such a decision was made in a case involving any Nigerian.

“Ejike was discharged and acquitted based on the fact that the prosecution had failed to establish that he knew the drug bundles in his suitcase were in his possession.

“This was because; he pleaded not guilty of willful blindness or deliberately shutting his eyes to the truth of his possession of the drugs.

“During the trial, the prosecutor focused on his knowledge of the substance; while the defence claimed he had no knowledge of the substance.

“The prosecutor claimed he knew about it hence the landmark judgment that secured the freedom of the Nigerian.”

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He said that Ejike claimed that his childhood friend in Nigeria gave him the bag that contained the drugs to be delivered to an unspecified person in Singapore.

“This buttressed the fact that drug peddlers are using unsuspecting innocent Nigerians as conduits to transport their consignments, at the risk of the lives of the possessors of such substances.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs therefore, call on relevant stakeholders to step up awareness campaign for Nigerians travelling abroad not to accept to travel with any bag or container that they have not personally packed by themselves for the journey,” he said.

He recalled that a Nigerian student, Zainab Aliyu and another man, Ibrahim Abubakar, were in April released by the Saudi authorities after they were exonerated of drug trafficking.

Aliyu, a student of Maitama Sule University, Kano, who travelled for Lesser Hajj in December 2018, was detained by the Saudi Arabia authorities for allegedly being in possession of banned substance.

“However, investigations conducted by the Airport Authorities and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) in Kano discovered a drug cartel at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.

“The Airport Authorities and the NDLEA revealed that the drug cartel specialises in planting illicit drugs on innocent travelers without their knowledge.

“It was also discovered that the bag tagged in Zainab’s name was planted by the cartel without her knowledge.

“The members of the cartel were arrested and currently being prosecuted in the Federal High Court, Kano.

“The outcome of the investigation and subsequent trial of the suspects confirmed the innocence of the two Nigerians led to their release,’’ he said.

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