The Nigeria High Commission in Singapore has expressed delight over the acquittal and release of a Nigerian, Mr. Adili Chibuike Ejike, sentenced to death for drug trafficking in the country.
In a letter to The Nigeria Head of Mission in Singapore, High Commissioner, Akinremi Bolaji, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Ejike, was sentenced to death for allegedly importing nearly two-kilograms of methamphetamine, but was granted an acquittal by Singapore’s Supreme Court and released with no outstanding charges.
Bolaji said Ejike was arrested in November 2011 and had since been behind bars till May 20, 2019, when he was discharged and acquitted. He said: “Ejike’s freedom from death by hanging by the court made history as the first time such a decision was made in a case involving a Nigerian. “The acquittal of Ejike has been termed locally as a miracle of God and I am elated that his freedom from death happened under my watch here as the Head of Mission.
The envoy said Ejike’s issue called for serious awareness campaign for Nigerians travelling abroad not to accept to travel with any bag or container that they have not personally packed by themselves for the journey. He said the prosecution had failed to establish that Ejike knew that the drug bundles in his suitcase were in his possession. He said: “In other words, Ejike was not guilty of willful blindness or deliberately shutting his eyes to the truth of his possession of the drugs. “The trial focused on his knowledge of the substance; while the defence claimed he had no knowledge of the substance, the prosecutor claimed he knew about it. “However, both the prosecutor and the defence agreed that he was in possession of the drugs, which was sufficient to convict him and affirm the death sentence earlier passed on him by both the lower and appellate courts
Ejike’s claim raised an important issue about how drug peddlers were using
unsuspecting people as conduits to transport their consignments, at the risk of
the lives of the possessors of such substances. He, therefore, called on the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs to join in the awareness campaign for Nigerians
travelling abroad not to accept to travel with any bags or container that they
have not personally packed themselves for the journey. “There is the need for
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to join hands with other Ministries,
Departments and Agencies, especially the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency
and the Nigerian Immigration Service to develop a framework to rehabilitate
such Nigerians returning from abroad into the society. “The Immigration
Services of Singapore would release Ejike to travel to Nigeria on Wednesday,
May 29, on board of Ethiopian Airlines and should be arriving in Lagos to join
his family in Anambra, afterwards. “Now, Mr. Ejike is a free person and will
travel to Nigeria unaccompanied, hoping he has learnt his lessons. “That he
would be wise enough not to subject himself in future to such circumstance that
has kept him behind the bars for nearly eight years – from Nov. 13, 2011, to
May 27, 2019,” he said. “The envoy said the mission celebrated the release of
Ejike on the eve of the swearing-in of President Muhammadu Buhari for the second
term. “The mission congratulated the president and wished him successful
tenure,” he said.