Prison authorities in Singapore have executed a Nigerian immigrant for his involvement in drug trafficking. A statement by the Singapore Central Narcotics Bureau said 38-year-old Chijioke Stephen Obioha was executed for drug trafficking on Friday at Changi Prison Complex. According to Naij, Obioha was arrested in 2007 by Singaporean anti-narcotic officials who caught him with 2.6 kilograms of cannabis, carefully wrapped in his handheld luggage. A search at Obioha’s house turned up several additional kilograms of cannabis.
Under Singaporean law, 500 grams of cannabis is the maximum amount that can be found in the possession of a single individual; anything above that it is considered drug trafficking.
Obioha, who graduated with an industrial chemistry degree from the University of Benin, Nigeria, moved to Singapore in 2005 and had dreams of pursuing a career in professional football before getting arrested.
Obioha endured a lengthy, convoluted trial before finally being executed. In 2010, his appeal against his conviction and sentencing was rejected. In April 2015, his appeal for clemency was rejected and his execution date was set for May 2015. His lawyers managed to get a stay of execution, which was eventually lifted in October of this year.
Human rights group Amnesty International has condemned Obioha’s execution, describing it as cruel, inhumane, degrading, and a contravention of international law. The organization’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific, Rafendi Djamin, says the death penalty is never the solution to rid society of drug abuse.
Amnesty International’s statement noted:
[Obioha’s] family were only informed on October 25th, 2016 that he had resolved to withdraw his application for resentencing earlier in the year, following legal advice that he would not qualify as “courier” under the amended laws.
Consequently, the Court of Appeals lifted the stay of execution with effect from October 24th, resulting in the execution date to be set for November 18th.
His family members, who currently live in Nigeria and the United Kingdom, have been unable to travel to visit and had limited ability to assist him. Throughout the duration of the proceedings, they have received sporadic and often delayed updates, including when a legal representative was removed from the case.
Obioha was executed alongside a 31-year-old Malaysian man, Devendran Supramaniam, who was convicted for trafficking heroin. Singapore rejected last-minute calls for clemency for both men.