The Senate has approved the death penalty as punishment for the importation of hard drugs into the country.

This also applies to the manufacturing, trafficking, dealing in, or delivery of drugs by any means.

The drugs specifically mentioned in a new bill passed by the Senate on Thursday 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.

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

The penalty for drug importation or dealership is captured in Section 11 of the existing law, which Ndume sought to increase to a death sentence.

He said, “This should be changed to the death sentence. This is the standard worldwide. We have to do this to address this drug problem that has seriously affected our youth.

“It should be toughened beyond life imprisonment. It should be the death sentence, either by hanging or any other way.”

But some senators, including a former governor of Edo State, Sen. Adams Oshiomhole, loudly protested against the decision of the Senate.

Oshiomhole, who looked agitated, raising his voice, told his colleagues that he would rarely joke about any matter that had to do with life or death.

“When a matter has to do with life and death, we should be accountable. Let’s divide the Senate.

This is lawmaking. We are not here to take voice votes,” Oshiomhole insisted.

However, the former President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) lost the battle as he was overruled by Sen. Jibrin.

The DSP tutored the former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Senate procedures, saying that Oshiomhole ought to have called for a division of the Senate immediately after the voting took place and before the Senate moved to another clause in the amendment bill.

“This is about procedure. You were supposed to call for a division; you didn’t do so, and I am sorry, I can’t help you.” The DSP stood his ground and stuck with the decision of the Senate.

Another lawmaker from Akwa Ibom State, Sen. Sampson Ekong, also tried to protest the ruling, but he too was overruled.

The Senate went ahead and passed the bill for a third reading.

The report on the bill was jointly produced by the Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters/Drugs and Narcotics.

Speaking with Senate Correspondents after the Senate rose, the lead chairman, Sen. Mohammed Monguno, said that the Senate actually approved the death sentence.

According to Monguno, the protest by Oshiomhole and other lawmakers, even if they had louder voices, did not change the ruling of the presiding officer.

“The ruling of the presiding officer is the position of the Senate,” he added.

Source : Nigerian Tribune