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Singapore’s Hanging of Ex-Nigerian Footballer Sparks Fury

Singapore has incurred the ire of the World for defying pleas to reverse its decision to hang Nigerian-born Chijoke Stephen Obioha.

38-year-old Obioha who arrived in the City-State in 2006 was arrested in relation to drug possession, a year after landing in the Asian country on a football trial.

The Nigerian was seeking to join a top flight side there when he got caught in possession of 2kg of cannabis, beyond the outlined 500 grams stipulated by law in the Southern Malaysian nation.

Singapore have often used the death penalty as punishment to drug traffickers in a bid to crackdown on drug peddling and former Nigerian footballer Chijoke today got hung after being sentenced to death by a high court.

His death by hanging followed a three-judge court rejection of the former footballer attorney’s last-minute appeal for clemency.

Singapore had been warned against going ahead to carry out the execution and their refusal to heed has inevitably sparked outrage.

Amnesty International said prior to Obioha’s hanging two days ago: ‘After the rejection of his clemency appeal in April 2015, his execution was set for May 15, 2015. It was stayed a day earlier to allow him apply for resentencing. “His family were only informed on October 25, 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 Appeal lifted the stay of execution with effect from October 24, resulting in the execution date to be set for November 18

Chijioke Stephen Obioha graduated in Industrial Chemistry from Benin University in Nigeria. He moved to Singapore in 2005, seeking to join a football club. 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.”

Nigerians back home have also been reacting to the trending news on social media.

Afolasade Adeniyi said: [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“I’m in tears now. I feel for him, I really do. Whoever says that he deserves to die is inhumane and cruel. Why wish death for your fellow human being? A lot of people have chosen the drug dealing path and came out of jail reformed and changed. Just because someone does drugs today doesn’t mean they are condemned. They should’ve given him a chance, the punishment is too cruel. For those of you saying he deserves it imagine if it where one of your relatives given the death penalty what would you do? How would you feel? Better still, would you still be of the same opinion? For God’s sake he’s someone’s son, brother, nephew, friend, and relative. He is human! He doesn’t deserve the death penalty![/perfectpullquote]

Ayeni Sylar Olushola was little more brutal, saying “Weed that does not kill anybody for God sake. Why would somebody get hung for it… Very stupid how people die (especially Nigerians). let’s start executing foreign offenders too. I have made researches on marijuana there’s no death case so far. Many people would feel he deserves it (so-called religious hypocrite).

Ann Lemuel Pokima, chipping in, adds, “No matter what it is, I strongly oppose taking a human life. It is not the solution to a crime infested community. Howbeit, if somebody is a threat, lock them away. Why didn’t we hear of him all the years he had been locked away? Perhaps Nigeria would’ve intervened. As soon as he was pulled out for execution it’s all over the news and Nigeria claims they can’t influence the country’s laws. For me they didn’t even try. Na here una get power.”

Nigeria government have had good rapport with Singapore however it remains to be seen how matters will play out between the two with this latest open defiance towards the African country.


Featured Photo: Courtesy of News Point



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