A 38-year-old male Nigerian national, Chijioke Stephen Obioha, had his death sentence carried out on 18 November 2016 at Changi Prison Complex.
Chijioke Stephen Obioha was convicted of trafficking in 2,604.56g of cannabis and sentenced to death on 30 December 2008. The Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) provides for the death penalty if the amount of cannabis trafficked is 500g or more.
Chijioke Stephen Obioha had been accorded full due process under the law. His appeal against conviction and sentence was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on 16 August 2010. After the amendments to the death penalty regime under the MDA came into effect on 1 January 2013, Chijioke Stephen Obioha was given the opportunity to elect to be considered for re-sentencing under the new death penalty regime. He appeared before an Assistant Registrar in the High Court on 25 February 2013, during which time he confirmed that he did not wish to be part of the re-sentencing process, and that he understood the consequences of his decision.
On 13 May 2015, Chijioke Stephen Obioha’s counsel filed a criminal motion in court for a stay of execution and to adduce fresh evidence for a review of his conviction. At the hearing of the criminal motion before the Court of Appeal on 14 May 2015, Chijioke Stephen Obioha changed his mind and elected to be considered for re-sentencing under the new death penalty regime. Although his request to adduce fresh evidence was rejected, the Court of Appeal ordered a stay of execution for Chijioke Stephen Obioha to allow him time to file an application for re-sentencing.
At the hearing on 25 August 2016, Chijioke Stephen Obioha withdrew his re-sentencing application. The Court of Appeal subsequently notified Chijioke Stephen Obioha on 12 October 2016 that the stay of execution would be lifted on 24 October 2016 unless he demonstrated by noon on 21 October 2016 to the Court of Appeal’s satisfaction that there was good reason not to do so. As Chijioke Stephen Obioha did not put any application before the Court of Appeal by the stipulated date, the Court of Appeal lifted the stay of execution on 24 October 2016.
On 16 November 2016, Chijioke Stephen Obioha’s counsel filed a criminal motion in court for a stay of execution and to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment. The criminal motion was heard and dismissed by the Court of Appeal on 17 November 2016. His sentence was carried out on 18 November 2016.
Chijioke Stephen Obioha was given the opportunity to petition the President for clemency. Both the petitions for clemency filed by him through his counsel and by the High Commission of Nigeria were turned down.
CENTRAL NARCOTICS BUREAU
18 November 2016
Details of case
Chijioke Stephen Obioha was arrested by CNB officers on 9 April 2007. A black luggage bag containing approximately 14,015.70g of vegetable matter was recovered from the taxi he was travelling in. This vegetable matter was ascertained to contain 4,815.10g of cannabis and 8,648.30g of cannabis mixture.
Another 6,581.10g of vegetable matter was subsequently recovered from his rented room. This stash of vegetable matter was ascertained to contain 2,604.56g of cannabis and 3,616.26g of cannabis mixture. The Prosecution elected to have Chijioke Stephen Obioha tried first for trafficking in a controlled drug by having 2,604.56g of cannabis in his possession for the purpose of trafficking, a charge he was subsequently convicted of.