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WADPN Urges Nigerian Senate to Reconsider Death Penalty for Drug Offences

Abuja, Nigeria: The West Africa Drug Policy Network (WADPN) is calling on the Nigerian Senate to drop the death penalty for drug-related offences and review the fifteen-year mandatory minimum sentence for drug use.


Nigeria's Senate in May 2024, proposed significantly toughening penalties for drug trafficking, making the death penalty the new maximum sentence through a law amendment. The amendment, which is not yet law, replaces life imprisonment that is previously the harshest punishment.

Nigeria Senate House (Red Chamber)

WADPN is concerned that the Nigerian Senate is introducing the death penalty for drug-related offences. Contrarily, this coincides with a significant global campaign against the death penalty and all forms of punishment for personal drug use and possession.

 

While the Senate may be rightfully concerned about the country's drug problem, history and evidence over time have shown that stringent penalties do not effectively curb drug trafficking or usage. Instead, these measures disproportionately affect marginalised groups such as the poor, vulnerable, and unemployed, who often fall victim to the complexities of drug-related crimes.

 

Effective drug control requires a multi-sectorial intervention including, the decriminalisation of personal drug use and possession, the establishment of harm reduction and rehabilitation programmes and facilities across the country, and adequate financial and technical support for these services while ensuring smart law enforcement on drug trafficking.

 

In light of this and Nigeria's obligations under international human rights treaties, the West Africa Drug Policy Network calls on the Nigerian Senate to abolish the death penalty for drug-related offences, as well as reconsider drastically reducing the fifteen-year mandatory minimum sentence for drug use outlined in Section 11(d) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act.

 

We look forward to a responsive drug control response in Nigeria.

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