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How a Nigerian on death row regained freedom in Singapore after eight years in detention

Adili Ejike, a Nigerian sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Singapore, wouldn’t have expected his fate to suddenly change after eight years in detention.

Ejike was sentenced to death for allegedly importing nearly two-kilogramme of methamphetamine, but on Monday, Singapore’s Supreme Court released him with no outstanding charges.

Commenting on the development, Akinremi Bolaji, head of Nigeria high commission in Singapore, 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,” Bolaji was quoted to have said.

“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.”

Bolaji, however, 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.

“In other words, Ejike was not guilty of wilful blindness or deliberately shutting his eyes to the truth if his possession of the drugs,” he said.

“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.”

“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.”

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