Nigerian man on death row in Singapore since 2011 discharged and acquitted

Nigerian man, Adili Chibuike Ejike, landed in trouble and was sentenced to death after childhood friend in Nigeria gave him a bag that contained drugs to be delivered to an unspecified person in Singapore.

In what could be described as a rare verdict, the Singaporean Supreme Court acquitted Ejike and ordered his release with no outstanding charges, it was learnt.

The Nigerian High Commission in Singapore in a statement revealed that: “A three-member panel that delivered the judgment was led by the Chief Justice of Singapore, Sundaresh Menon.”

The mission 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.

Ejike was arrested in November 2011 and has since been behind bars before he was discharged and acquitted.

According to the The High Commission, the prosecution had failed to establish that Ejike knew that the drug bundles in his suitcase were in his possession.

“In order words, Mr Ejike was not guilty of willful blindness or deliberately shutting his eyes to the truth of his possession of the drugs.

“The acquittal of Mr 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 prosecutor 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, according to the commission, said his childhood friend in Nigeria gave him the bag that contained the drugs to be delivered to an unspecified person in Singapore.

The mission pointed out that Ejike’s claim raised an important issue about how drug peddlers are using unsuspecting people as conduits to transport their consignments, at the risk of the lives of the possessors of such substances.

It, therefore, called for joint awareness campaign for Nigerians travelling abroad not to accept to travel with any bags or container that they have not personally packed by themselves for the journey.

“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 November 13, 2011 to May 27, 2019.”

The mission said it 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.

Culled from Inside Nigeria

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