The government of Singapore has executed Chijioke Stephen Obioha for drug trafficking in the early hours of today, Friday, November 18. He was executed alongside a 31-year-old Malaysian, Devendran A/L Supramaniam after a last minute call for clemency by Amnesty International on Wednesday, 16 November, was rejected by the country.
Obioha was arrested in Singapore, on April 2007 for possession of more than 2.6 kilogrammes of cannabis, which is more than the amount of 500 grammes that triggers the automatic presumption of trafficking under Singapore law.
He was also found to possess keys to a room containing additional prohibited substances and this led the authorities to presume him guilty of possession and knowledge of the drugs.
It was reported that Chijioke Stephen Obioha had been in Singapore since 2005 to try out for a football club but was arrested by anti-narcotics officers.
In its call for clemency, Amnesty International stated that the offence for which Obioha was convicted did not fall under the category of most serious crime but the call was turned down by Singapore which is well known for punishing drug offenders with a death sentence.
Also, a criminal motion was filed in court by his counsel for a stay of execution and to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment on Wednesday, November 16, but it was dismissed the next day and his parents were promptly informed of the execution.
Amnesty International wrote:
“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.”
Sequel to his execution, the body of late Chijioke Stephen Obioha was claimed by the Roman catholic prison ministry.