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How Singapore executed Nigerian footballer

A Nigerian footballer who travelled to Singapore in 2005 for footballer trials has been executed for alleged drug trafficking
Identified as Chijioke Obioha, 38, the footballer was killed alongside Devendran Supramaniam, a 31-year-old Malaysian.
The Central Narcotic Bureau (CNB) said both men were killed by hanging inside the Changi Prison complex
The CNB said the Nigerian footballer was allegedly arrested in April 2007 with 14 blocks of vegetable matter which was found in the bag he had with him.
The anti-narcotic officers were said to have escorted Obioha to his rented flat where another 14 blocks were reportedly found in various bags
He was convicted of trafficking 2,604.56kg of cannabis and sentenced to death in December 2008.
Obioha, who came to Singapore hoping to be a footballer, was convicted of trafficking 2.6 kilograms of cannabis in 2008. Under Singapore law, anyone caught with more than 500 grams of cannabis can be sentenced to death.
A change in the law in 2013 meant that Obioha could apply to be re-sentenced, opening up the possibility of a life sentence, but he turned it down, the CNB said.
Just before he was to be hanged in 2015, Obioha’s lawyer filed for a stay in execution, which was allowed by Singapore’s highest court, marking the start of a legal rollercoaster which saw Obioha applying and withdrawing several legal options.
On Thursday, his lawyers launched a final bid to have his sentence commuted to life in prison but were turned down by a three-judge court.
Separately, the CNB also confirmed the execution of 31-year-old Malaysian Devendran Supramaniam, who was convicted of trafficking heroin.
He was arrested in May 2011 at Singapore’s border checkpoint with Malaysia carrying 2.7 kilograms of a powdery substance that contained 83.36 grams of pure heroin.
Like Obioha, Devendran launched an eleventh-hour appeal on Thursday to stay his execution, but was turned down.
Singapore takes a strong stand against crime and imposes the death penalty on offences such as murder and drug trafficking.
But human rights groups, which have called on Singapore to abolish capital punishment, condemned the execution.
“By executing people for drug-related offences, which do not meet the threshold of most serious crimes, Singapore is violating international law,” Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific said in a statement Wednesday calling for a halt to Obioha’s execution.
Singapore executed four people in 2015, one for murder and three for drug offences, according to prison statistics.
Malaysia also uses capital punishment, executing murderers and drug traffickers by hanging, a system which, like that in Singapore, dates back to British colonial rule.

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