UNODC Opposes Proposed Death Penalty For Drug Dealers

UNODC Opposes Proposed Death Penalty For Drug Dealers

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has condemned the proposed death penalty for drug peddlers, dealers and persons abusing drugs recently passed by the Nigerian senate.

UNODC country representative, Oliver Stolpe, who reacted to the proposal, told LEADERSHIP that it does not make sense to propose the death penalty at a time when countries worldwide are abolishing death sentences.

Stolpe said the proposed law, if passed into law, would be a setback for the fight against drug abuse and rehabilitation currently done by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

He said, “At this stage, it is a proposal by the Senate, and you are all aware of the legislative process. It now needs to go back to the House of Representatives. We are expecting the House to vote it down. Our stance as UN is clear on the death penalty. We are principally and categorically against it. And from a very practical viewpoint, I have to say, it doesn‘t make sense. The deterrent effect of the death penalty has never convincingly been proven. Societies that have the death penalty have not shown reduction in drug use and abuse than societies that don‘t have the death penalty. So, there is no proof of the effectiveness of the death penalty.

“More importantly, there are many countries that have abolished the death penalty and are not cooperating with countries that have the death penalty or where the possibility for the death for the issuing of the death penalty exists. And that would greatly undermine the effectiveness of NDLEA work in particular when it comes to international exchange of intelligence and information, which had been used so effectively, especially in the last couple of years.”

Recently, the Senate approved the death penalty as punishment for the importation of hard drugs into the country.

It also includes manufacturing, trafficking, dealing in, or delivery of drugs by any means.

In the new bill as passed by the Senate, the drugs specifically mentioned are cocaine and heroin, among others.

The bill is the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024. The maximum punishment in the existing law for offenders is life imprisonment.

However, during the consideration of the report on the bill for passage recently, the Senate Whip, Sen. Ali Ndume, recommended that the penalty be “toughened” to the death penalty.

However, a security expert based in Abuja, Adeshina Kehinde had said: “I support the idea that they should go for execution because it has destroyed 80 per cent of Nigerian youths. Everywhere is full of drugs, and the crime rate is alarming. Between 18 and 35 years of age, you will hardly see them going free. If you search them, you must see drugs on them.

“If you don’t see cocaine, you will see Tramadol, Tutolyn and other drugs. There is a particular one they call ‘kolos’. One of the boys working under me used it and he died that same day. I dismissed almost seven over the same offence. One thing I have learnt about Nigerians is that when you kill one person because of one offence, others will run away from it.

“So, I strongly support that death penalty because it is a deterrent. Even with the fact that we are saying the country is difficult, nobody wants to die. If they get concrete evidence and it is proved beyond reasonable doubt, I support that death sentence. Some of the big people in the society are also involved in it.”


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