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Nigeria : Senate imposes death penalty for drug trafficking

On May 9, 2024, the Nigerian Senate passed a bill introducing a death penalty for those convicted of drug trafficking in the country. The bill proposes death penalty for traffickers of cocaine, LSD, heroin and other narcotics, as well as 15 years imprisonment without possibility of fine for users of hard drugs.

The Nigerian Senate seeks tougher penalties for those convicted of drug trafficking in the country. On May 9, 2024, the Upper House of the Nigerian Parliament passed a bill to introduce a death penalty for drug-related offences. The Senate’s resolution to amend the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act (NDLEA) stemmed from consideration of a report by the Committees on the Judiciary, Human Rights, Legal Affairs,  Drugs and Narcotics. The bill proposes the death penalty for traffickers of cocaine, LSD, heroin and other narcotics in the country.

« If we want to eradicate drug trafficking in Nigeria, the only way to do it is to make it a crime punishable by death. »

Peter Nwebonyi, SenatorNigeria

In Nigeria, the use of opioids, particularly tramadol and cough syrups containing codeine, is widespread. In the West African country, the abuse of drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and methamphetamine is a major cause of violence and road accidents. In April 2024, the NDLEA destroyed more than 300,000 kilograms of narcotics, seized in Lagos and Ogun States. NDLEA figures indicate that approximately 14.3 million Nigerians, aged between 15 and 64, are involved in drug abuse.

« The Nigerian Senate’s decision to introduce the death penalty for those involved in drug trafficking will create controversy as the death penalty is increasingly discouraged in many parts of the world. But for a country like Nigeria, it might be understandable that such a measure should be introduced for a crime that is seen in many quarters as having damaged the country’s reputation, particularly within the international community. »

Caleb Ojewale, JournalistNigeria

Drug trafficking is punishable by life imprisonment in Nigeria. The Senate bill aims to update the list of banned substances, improve the operational efficiency of the NDLEA, review penalties and establish state-of-the-art drug analysis laboratories. The Upper House has also proposed a 15-year prison sentence with no possibility of a fine for hard drug users.


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