Senate Proposes Death Penalty For Drug Offences

Senate Proposes Death Penalty For Drug Offences

For drug abusers, the Senate has raised the maximum punishment for them from life imprisonment to death sentence.

The proposal is through a planned legislation titled: “The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act (Amendment Bill) 2024” which passed the third reading at the Senate yesterday.

The bill sought to review the penalties, update the list of dangerous drugs, strengthen the operations of the NDLEA and empower the agency to establish laboratories.

Section 11 of the current Act which prescribes that any person who, without lawful authority; imports, manufactures, produces, processes, plants or grows the drugs popularly known as cocaine, LSD, heroin or any other similar drugs, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to life imprisonment was amended to reflect a stiffer death penalty.

The bill was passed after the Senate considered the Report of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters presented by the chairman, Senator Tahir Mongonu (Borno North).

Though the report did not recommend a death penalty, the Senate chief whip, Ali Ndume, however, moved that the life sentence be replaced with the death penalty.

During a clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, Barau Jibrin, the deputy Senate president, who presided over the session, put the amendment on the death penalty to a voice vote and declared that the “ayes” had it, but Senator Adams Oshiomhole (Edo North) objected that the “nays” rather had it.

He argued that matters of life and death should not be treated hurriedly, but Barau said it was too late, as he failed to raise his disagreement soon enough.

The bill was subsequently passed.

However, throwing more light on what transpired on the floor of the Senate, Monguno said section 11 in the committee report recommended life imprisonment, but the Senate amended it to death sentence.


On the protest by Oshiomhole, Monguno said in voice vote “we are bound by the ruling of the presiding officer” adding that Oshiomhole could have “timeously applied for division”.


However, Monguno said all hope was not lost as Oshiomhole, if he feels very strongly about his opposition to the death penalty, can still come by way of a motion in writing to the Senate to review its decision.


Monguno, a lawyer, who spent 20 years in the House of Representatives before crossing over to the Senate in this 10th Assembly, said what the Senate did was passage of a bill which will be transmitted to the president for his assent.





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