Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Federal government has commended Singapore’s Supreme Court over its decision to free a Nigerian on death row.
The acting spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Friday Akpan, in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja, said Mr. Adili Chibuike Ejike, was arrested in 2011 and earlier sentenced to death for importing nearly two kilogrammes of methamphetamine into the country.
He added that Ejike was granted an acquittal by the Singaporean apex court on Monday May 27, 2019, and released with no outstanding charges.
“According to the High Commission of Nigeria in Singapore, Ejike’s acquittal made history as the first time such a decision was made in a case involving any Nigerian.
“He was discharged and acquitted based on the fact that the prosecution had failed to establish that Ejike knew that the drug bundles in his suitcase were in his possession. This was because, he pleaded not guilty of wilful blindness or deliberately shutting his eyes to the truth of his possession of the drugs,” Akpan said.
Akpan further said, during the trial, the prosecutor focused on his knowledge of the substance and while the defence claimed he had no knowledge of the substance, the prosecutor claimed he knew about it, hence the landmark judgement that secured the freedom of the Nigerian.
“According to Ejike, his childhood friend in Nigeria gave him the bag that contained the drugs to be delivered to an unspecified person in Singapore.
“This buttressed the fact that drug peddlers are using unsuspecting innocent Nigerians as conduits to transport their consignments, at the risk of the lives of the possessors of such substances,” Akpan added.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejoiced with the family of Ejike for the favourable judgement and called on relevant stakeholders to step up 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.
“The Immigration Services of Singapore is expected to release Ejike to travel to Nigeria on Wednesday, May 29, on board of Ethiopian Airlines,” Akpan also said.