Singapore set to hang 21-year-old Nigerian

44 Comments » January 24th, 2007 posted by // Categories: Favorite Articles



PRESS STATEMENT OF THE CIVIL LIBERTIES ORGANIZATION (NIGERIA)

The Death Sentence on Tochi Iwuchukwu: A Gross Miscarriage of Justice by Singapore

The Nigeria Government Must Rise to This Urgent Occasion to Save The Life of its National From Unlawful Execution in a Foreign Land!

Ladies and gentlemen of the Press,

We welcome you to this briefing.

We have invited you today to bring to your attention the very disquieting case of gross miscarriage of justice by the justice system of Singapore leading to the imposition of the death sentence on Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi, a 19-year old Nigerian citizen following his conviction on charges of ‘Misuse of Drugs’ in a trial that clearly amounted to a travesty!

Iwuchukwu was condemned in March 2005 by the high court in Singapore, after he was found guilty of transporting 727.03 grams of heroin into Singapore and is currently awaiting execution following the death sentence pronounced on him.

The Civil Liberties Organisation is deeply concerned by the very high and grim possibility that unless we all act to prevail on the Nigerian government to urgently and decisively intervene to save his life, Tochi may be unlawfully executed in September by the authorities of Singapore.

Since this matter was brought to our attention, the CLO has written to a number of government officials, including the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the Minister of External Affairs and the Senate President, urging them to urgently take up this matter with the authorities of Singapore to ensure that at the best, Tochi is released or, at the worst, his sentence would be commuted to prison terms. But we are yet to receive any reply or seen any action from any of these quarters.

We have recognised the need to involve the media based on our belief that this matter needs to be publicised and put in the front burner in order to mobilise public opinion and galvanise the Nigerian government into frantic action. We therefore, hereby appeal for your support in this campaign to save a life.

Already Mr Ravi has been conducting campaigns in Europe and South America with a view to mobilising global opposition to this possibility of a barbaric extermination of the life of an innocent lad.

A lot of people in Germany and the media are very concerned about this case. Not only that there is reasonable doubt in the judges verdict, there are also a lot of points that show a very high probability that Tochi is innocent. Even though Tochi is not a German citizen, a lot of Germans as well as the media there have taken notice of the case and feel that there is a big miscarriage of justice that must be stopped.

We are all under an extreme time pressure in the case and it is very important that Nigeria escalates this case to the International Court as soon as possible.

Background
Tochi was on a trip from Pakistan to Singapore when he was arrested at the Changi Airport 27 November 2004 on allegations of transporting heroin into Singapore. The Singaporean human rights lawyer, Mr M Ravi told the court Tochi did not know the pills he was shipping contained heroin. He thought he was bringing in medicines.

According to Mr M Ravi, the court of appeal in Singapore had dismissed the appeal filed against the sentence of the lower court paving way for the execution of this lad. Poor enough, the possibility of granting clemency by the president of Singapore is very slim, almost an impossibility.

"There has been a spate of executions of African nationals across Asia, which had gone unnoticed. The Australian and Western counterparts get different treatment in the media," Ravi stated.

For instance, German national Julia Bohl, who was convicted for drug trafficking in 2002, escaped the gallows in Singapore when she was released from prison and exiled in 2005.

The law in Singapore "presumes that a person caught in possession of prohibited drugs knows that he is in possession of some drugs, with the burden of rebutting the presumption on the accused person

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44 Responses to “Singapore set to hang 21-year-old Nigerian”

  1. NigerianMuse says:

    Obasanjo urges Singapore not to hang Nigerian man
    Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:36 AM GMT

    ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo asked Singapore’s government on Tuesday to grant repreive to a 21-year-old Nigerian man due to be executed for drug smuggling.

    Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi was arrested at Singapore’s Changi airport in November 2004 with 727 grammes of heroin. He is due to be executed on Friday after his appeal to Singapore’s president for clemency failed last year.

    "It is for the reason of obtaining your kind pardon and clemency for the convicted Nigerian that I write this letter to you … to earnestly urge you to reconsider the conviction of the Singaporean Court of Appeal and to commute the death sentence to imprisonment," Obasanjo said in a letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

    Obasanjo’s appeal came after Saudi Arabia executed a Nigerian man in December for smuggling cocaine into the conservative Muslim kingdom.

    Human rights group Amnesty International has also called for clemency for Tochi, saying the judge who convicted the Nigerian "appears to have accepted that he (Tochi) might not have realised that the substance he was carrying was heroin."

    The drugs were estimated by the authorities to have a street value of $970,000.

    The drug laws of the island nation of 4.4 million people are among the harshest in the world. The death penalty is mandatory for anyone caught with more than 15 grammes of heroin.

    Government officials say the location of the city-state close to drug-producing countries forces it to take a tough stance on smuggling.

    ——————————————-

  2. NigerianMuse says:

    GUARDIAN EDITORIAL
    January 25, 2007

    The ordeal of citizen Amara Tochi in Singapore
    A NIGERIAN teenager, Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi, who had, for weeks, been standing trial in Singapura, capital of the Republic of Singapore, South-East Asia, after he was allegedly found with 727.3 grammes of heroin, has now been found guilty of the offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1973, of Singapore. Tochi is now billed to be executed tomorrow, Friday, January 26, 2007.

    The sanction for drug-trafficking in Singapore is the supreme penalty: death and Tochi, 19, has been found guilty of the offence after what, to all intents and practical purposes, appears to be a simulated trial during which the Judge in the trial court found that the accused was unaware of the contents of the bag which contained the offensive drug, and expressed serious doubts about the culpability of the accused whose conviction should have been based on the mens rea (criminal intention) principle.

    The principle of mens rea in criminal law enjoys universal application, and it is trite law that if and whenever any Court entertains any scintilla of doubt in criminal proceedings, such a doubt must be resolved in favour of the accused person. This, it has been alleged, was not done in the Tochi case. Additionally, Tochi was allegedly denied adequate legal representation during what has been described as a phoney trial in the Singaporean court.

    For good measure, the "trial" was said to have been driven by racial discrimination. It was for these and kindred reasons that the South African President, Mr. Thabo Mbeki and his government promptly rose up against the death sentence passed on a South African citizen who was sentenced along with Nigeria’s Tochi. The death sentence passed on the South African citizen was quickly reversed.

    It is, however, good to know that the Nigerian Government (the Presidency and the Ministry of Justice) has, though belatedly, made efforts to save citizen Tochi from the hangman’s noose in far-away Singapore. But that was only on Tuesday, this week. It would be recalled that but for the Federal Government’s timely evacuation of Nigerian citizens trapped in Lebanon during the Israeli-Lebanese skirmishes last year, several Nigerians would have perished in Lebanon.

    All Nigerians poured encomiums on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then under Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and on the Federal Government. The truth of the matter is that Nigerians expect their government to look out for them when they are in trouble abroad.

    We are aware that a country, under the territorial principle, should be able to prosecute for offences committed upon its soil. It is a logical manifestation of a world order of independent states, and is entirely reasonable since the authorities of a State are responsible for the conduct of law and the maintenance of good order within that State. It is, unarguably, also highly convenient since in practice, the witnesses to the crime and the alleged offender will be present there too.

    For this reason, all criminal offences alleged to have been committed within the territorial jurisdiction of a state may come before municipal courts or tribunals and the accused, if convicted, may be sentenced. However, all such courts or tribunals trying foreign citizens are enjoined by principles of international law to undertake such trials within the ambit of the minimum standards required by international law.

    Thus, where the treatment of foreign suspects fails to reach the lowest level expected of civilised countries, or if such foreign suspects are prejudiced in life, liberty or property by any sub-minimal conduct on the part of a state, the latter incurs international responsibility towards the home state of the foreigners concerned. In the Tochi case, the Singaporean Court of Appeal has omitted, neglected or refused to take judicial notice of the lower court’s doubt about the accused person’s guilt and about the question of want of adequate legal representation in a matter involving the death penalty. Very few civilised countries make a joke of the lives and nationality of their citizens, both at home and abroad.

    Nationality has been defined as a legal bond, having as its basis a social fact of attachment, a genuine connection of existence, interests and sentiments, together with the existence of reciprocal rights and duties. This explains why the sanctity of human life is regarded as inviolate in most countries. We wonder what the Nigerian Embassy in Singapore has been doing since the Tochi case started, weeks ago. Why would the Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Singapore wait for the Presidency and the Attorney-General of the Federation before personally intervening, like the South African Embassy did, in this case that lacks all the characteristics of a free trial?

    The attempts made by the Federal Government only on Tuesday this week may have come too late as citizen Tochi may be executed tomorrow. We wish to appeal to the Singaporean authorities to spare the life of this young Nigerian if only by reason of the cordial diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Singapore.

    It is well known that treaties relating to currency counterfeiting and drug trafficking require that the state claiming jurisdiction should have adopted municipal legislation accepting the prosecution of aliens for offences committed abroad. Such treaties have several common features, including requiring that the violation in question be rendered an offence in domestic law, calling upon states in whose territory the alleged offender is found either to prosecute or extradite such person.

    In view of this, we call on the President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore to use their good offices to order the extradition of Amara Tochi to Nigeria or, at least, commute the death sentence to imprisonment.

    • Adrian Dunsford says:

      Sir, It is a bit too late to write anythong about this poor stupid persin, whi knew the penalties of drug usage in Singapore.Singapore makes is very obvious that Drug peddalrs, users etc will be executed when caught.
      It is very frightening when faced with the officials of the gonernment of any nation, when they suspect you of this crime!
      So what I now say , for your safty sakes and the sakes of yor very lives, DONT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH DRUGS, THIS IS FOR EVERY ONE. YOUR LIFE IS AT STAKE.!!!

  3. Citizen, Nigeria says:

    Now that the Singaporeans have killed our brother under a dubious law, we hope they have eradicated the problem of drug trafficking in their country. We wish the blood sucking demons a toast for their callous aggression. Do they have a definition for a minor? God save our world. This is absurd.

  4. oduware brown says:

    if nigeria will allow her own blood to die in another mans land, then in my own view she has failed completly. it means she is a coward. but i think its time she standup to defend her citizen

    • Bibi says:

      OBJ as president and u ask for justice?
      OBJ allowed his Attorney General and M.O.J.(IGE) to be slain with impunity, and had the suspected brain behind Ige’s murder to get ‘elected’ into the Senate while still in Police custody, how then could u expect Amara Tochi to get official help?
      OBJ is too preoccupied with SEX than to be bothered about d welfare of Nigerians! I suspect OBJ must love porn, or what else would persistently motivate his libidnous instints. Let’s ask Moji.
      Too bad for Amara Tochi.

      • Sibusiso Hlophe says:

        Drug dealers are kiling innocent children everyday. I don’t see what’s the big deal about Tochi getting hanged. That she be the new international law.

  5. Roforofo says:

    That is the law in that Country, kill him.

    Nigerians people are known as drug dealers, fraud with credit card, illegal immigrants….. and more, do not complain when the law is in you way, just be a man and go to hell.
    That is the law.
    We are here waiting for you Nigerian; we have already about 1500 of you in prison in the UK and 500 in Ireland, because of you so many laws have been changed.

    Stop coming to Europe, please no more of you specially women come here to spread HIV, we do not care if you have it or not if your problem use Condon but you want to come to the UK to get free treatment here with the NHS we pay tax for that and not you.

    You are so poor because you want it that way, kill all your corrupt government and manage your Country properly like us.

    • mark says:

      youe a stupid man

    • David Williams says:

      Roforofo, you are just a big fool. This is the worst comment and most absurd I have ever read. You are not even a UK citizen because I am.

    • David Williams says:

      Roforofo, you are just a big fool. This is the worst comment and most absurd I have ever read. You are not even a UK citizen because I am.

    • Temitope Adesanya says:

      Nigerians forgive you for posting this kind of statement on one of our sites. After all we know that UK is full of ignorant, racist idiots such as yourself who know no better. Those who are more educated know that Africans learned all this drug peddaling and other criminal behaviour from their masters in Europe who invented it. Only we are less sophisticated and end up getting caught.

      I am so sad for another young life lost in this manner. I pray that even if people do not, God will forgive him. I also pray that Nigeria will do more to defend her citizens abroad but more so at home so there is less need for our young people to resort to these foolish and desperate acts.

    • Temitope Adesanya says:

      Nigerians forgive you for posting this kind of statement on one of our sites. After all we know that UK is full of ignorant, racist idiots such as yourself who know no better. Those who are more educated know that Africans learned all this drug peddaling and other criminal behaviour from their masters in Europe who invented it. Only we are less sophisticated and end up getting caught.

      I am so sad for another young life lost in this manner. I pray that even if people do not, God will forgive him. I also pray that Nigeria will do more to defend her citizens abroad but more so at home so there is less need for our young people to resort to these foolish and desperate acts.

    • Mohammed Abba Aji says:

      Roforofo i don’t blame you for talking this way because i think you are ignorant of your country’s history with afirca.. Britain invaded “colonised” and did away with God given resources in the most despeakable ways.. but they called it “common wealth” that is for us and them.. so now when it’s our turn to claim our share of the common wealth from them, the rules change and we are portrayed as pests.. pleaseeeeeeeee

    • express says:

      May you die young what ever your name is…You fucking coward…and i bet it you gonna die in a motor accident soon..fucking ass hole….fucking bastard roforofo

    • Olha says:

      man, you are very very supid. I know very sure you a bad nigerian in Uk. remember you will die like hen one day. Stupid man. They should kill human being like you by hangging, you dont even have fear of God. You are not a muslim I think.

    • f john says:

      you idiot; blunt head motherfucka.wat do u think u are given nigerians a bad name,come off your dream drunkered
      smelling pig called white man

    • Ekwuruonu Charles says:

      roforofo you are a bastard and to hell with uk if you think you ve it all think NIGERIA.

  6. pmdaboh says:

    My heart goes out to the young man, for it must be horrible to die like that in a foreign land away from family and friends. However, when any of us visit a foreign country, we should not go there with the intention of dealing in drugs to obtain “quick and easy money” –not considering who will take those drugs and whose lives we are affecting. He should have read the penalty for participating in such behavior. He knows that dealing in drugs is wrong (regardless of where it is), so he knew he was doing something illegal. People have faced the same fate for years to dare to go into countries where the penalty for certain crimes is harsh. Unfortunately, he will pay the ultimate price for a bad decision he has made. What can anyone do in reference to him receiving the penalty for the crime he committed? If God does not miraculously spare his life, then it cannot be done. I hope and pray he is ready to meet God, for at this point, that is what he needs to concentrate on. God loves him, cares about his situation, and is able to forgive him–that is what is important when someone will die in a few days. My prayers are for him and his family. I am truly sorry about this situation. It is sad indeed!

  7. Pit says:

    don`t do that .no law can make for killing people.otherwise i whants war for you. so remember where human beeing is comming from and whos the oldest on this planned.

  8. Emmao says:

    Nigeria will Rule the world.

    Singapore must suffer for this, trust me.

    One Luv my People.

  9. RJC says:

    At least his organs were useful for harvesting.

  10. Brony says:

    Can anyone tell me where Nigerians (Abujans?) might spend their summer holidays when they were growing up?

  11. omosewa says:

    if only some idiots in power can use the resources of this country to better the lots of thecitizen ,i dont see why anybody in nigerian with their level of intelligence will want to go to a crazy foreign land where the best treatment for them is to be a second class citizen.i hope somebody in ASO rock is reading this.

  12. Pete says:

    I note the calls to save this young man. I also note he broke the laws of another country, a country that warns, when you enter, that capitol punishment is the end result. It seems simple to me. Whilst in Nigeria, I had to respect Nigerian laws.

    What I cannot understand about the about the explosion of indignation when there are over 200 condemned men in Enugu prison alone. A prison that saw over 58 people hanged in ONE day! Currently there are over 736 inmates facing death were convicted on the basis of written confessions probably obtained by torture. These are not my figure but Amnesty International!

    My friends, set your own house in order before attacking Singapore and its zero tolerance of drugs

  13. Nigeria says:

    ure a big fool roforofo, let mi just tell u dis…..ure a stupid person, u dare open ur mouth n insult nigerians. hu gave u d right to accuse us of spearding HIV, since wen did europe become ur father’s house, if u know wat is gud for u dont u ever post any nonsense on our sites, u ignorant, stupid racist…..i dont blame u, beta go n check urself, i can beta ur sister’s r d pple spreading HIV…..RETARD!!!!!

  14. Nigeria says:

    ure a big fool roforofo, let mi just tell u dis…..ure a stupid person, u dare open ur mouth n insult nigerians. hu gave u d right to accuse us of spreading HIV, since wen did europe become ur father’s house, if u know wat is gud for u dont u ever post any nonsense on our sites, u ignorant, stupid racist…..i dont blame u, beta go n check urself, i can bet ur sister’s r d pple spreading HIV…..RETARD!!!!!

  15. adebowale says:

    it is very sad that the great opportunity given to us by god wsa been used by stupid pot belly politisian to enrich themselve without caring for the poor masses I believe the rooot of all is poverty many nigerian havebeen executed bc of this in europe so executing him doent eradicate drug trafficking and despite that people know that the sentence sis death they will still take drg there by taking the ris all is bc of poverty

  16. LadyQ says:

    Nija people make una take am easy.If we ourselves are carrying out Sharia law & executing our own citizens 7 our leaders are not doing anythg about it, why do you think they will intervene in this situation?Out here in the US, it is the same,nigerians have messed up everywhere but no matter what, these people out here luvs us b/c of our intelligence- whether its stealing with our sweet talk, working 18hrs a day or academically, we r #1.I know up to 10nigerians who are professionals from accountants to attorneys that are serving no less than 10yrs for illegal drug pedalling.meanwhile their family back home are thinking they are just here working hard.Our desire to get rich quick needs to stop-all they show on CNN, MSNBC in the US is-HOW TO CATCH A THIEF featuring our beloved Nigerian brothers even my own fellow brothers want to play me 419, nobody is safe with our people.We need to harness other ways of developing our God-given intelligence so that we can better ourselves and be good ambassadors of our country and then some day, we can come help hold our corrupt officials accountable for all their misdeeds.I hope all is well with you guys back home.I Luv being a Nigerian anyday.We make the world go round.Nigerians bring fun to other parts of the world.I miss home and can’t wait to be back again next Xmas.Until then, make una keep hope alive, 2morrow will be a better day.I pray things get better for our country so that the wealth of nigeria can circulate.

  17. micable09 says:

    Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi’s case is one of the worries Nigerians are bound to have if nothing is done to get our government working for the good of the masses. Who knows, the guy could be innocent. I would rather they exchange the poor boy with any of our government functionaries for execution. People dont seem to be bothered when issues concerning human life is being discussed,,,maybe because he is Ibo.

  18. micable09 says:

    Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi’s case is one of the worries Nigerians are bound to have if nothing is done to get our government working for the good of the masses. Who knows, the guy could be innocent. I would rather they exchange the poor boy with any of our government functionaries for execution. People dont seem to be bothered when issues concerning human life is being discussed,,,maybe because he is Ibo.

  19. ted says:

    i suspesct that this idiot roforofo is nothing but an inferior Ghanian who maybe is cleaning one of the toilets here in london. I really feel for this young Tochi . I wonder if he knew he had such a thing of if he was conned into that.

  20. Kay Wye says:

    Why ya’ll hatin on roforofo???,…i mean there iz an element of truth to what he sed!,….outside of nigeria we truly do not hav a good image,….i mean honestly hw many people here wud be proud to go abroad n call yurself a nigerian???—i honestly wudnt!

    i dont have pity for sorry-assed kid who waz executed,….hw many of us here thinkz drug traffickin iz good???—exactly!! none of us! so i dont think any pity shud be given to a foolish boy who cud hav done sumthin more productive wit hiz lyf instead of further ruining our international credablilty/Image.

    Evn though im african-american,i trace my roots bak to africa,Nigeria to be precise, So plz dont get me wrong im not sayin all wat dat roforo guy sed iz true and/or nice,… judging from hiz name hez probably a foolish dumb-ass african who haz totally forgotten hiz roots n wants to be proud of hiz fake identity az an english man wen he is actually form Africa

    nevetheless it left to us,….good spirited n righteous seeking nigerians to take Nigeria to itz “promised land”,to make Nigeria the stabilized ,efficient,n prosperus nation we all dream of may the good Lord helps us(Amen)

  21. xsty says:

    its a very big problme come to asia place like thailand and see what it there are so many uncountable nigeria in there prison, i dont know when we will be free from love of money

  22. RAW says:

    U RFOROFO ABI KOROKORO,WAT EVA DEY CALL U,U ARE NOTIN BUT A SWINE N A BASTARD RACIST.BIG ASSHOLE………..

  23. lee says:

    Let the fucking bastard die. He new what he was getting into. I fuckin hate smack dealers any way. So glad he got death sentance for this. Well deserved 🙂

  24. bobtheelder says:

    So the moral of this story is…. if you go to singapore obey their laws and DON’T SMUGGLE DRUGS! Otherwose you may end up being compelled to try out out some local neckware. No one forces you to go abroad. Whats wrong with staying at home!?

  25. moo says:

    know the laws of the country before u try anything fishy.

  26. easy says:

    sorry to comment on this issue as a nigerian. first of all there is no price big enough for a life. knowing this fact we as nigerians should think twice b4 engaging in any sought of crime or activity that is bound to get us in unwilling situation. this nation has sets laws and well known also. so why do our people upon knowing this facts still engage themselves in such acts. pls think b4 u speak or act

  27. Mohammed Bello says:

    very simply put he fucked up and he is gonna face the music………….whats our government gonna look like advocating for a drug peddler?

  28. David Hutchinson says:

    Simply put, you break the law and get caught, you pay the price. The Singaporeans have their country and their laws and their particular way of doing things and that is just fine. Obey the laws and you will not get into trouble. Suppose I came into your house smoking dope and drinking up your liquor and fucking your daughter in my bedroom? Doing drugs in Singapore is issuing the same disrespect for Singaporeans. They probably don\’t have many Blacks in Singapore so this kid made a fine example that will make African types more noticeable in Singapore.

  29. SCONY says:

    I am an Ibo man from Owerri. Too bad that this is happening to this young man. However, everyone travelling to Singapore knows that drug trafficking carries death penalty. My people make we stop this get rich in a hurry scheme. would this deter the others from doing this? i would tell you no cos this is not the first time nor will it be the last. our young ones we know that the nigerian govt is bad, but we can still do better for ourselves rather than drug pedelling. i travel a lot, each of the country i visit they always complain of the same problem about nigeria- singapore, thailand,malaysia, canada,brazil,usa(different cities),colombia etc always get rich quick scheme. May God help us. if we dont change then our young one will continue to die in this manner. the nigerian govt are the ones killing all this youngones. the blood of the youngones will be on the head of the bad nigerian govt.

  30. Ibrahim says:

    How did they pass through our airport without the security noticing the drugs in them ?that simply means our government is involve and that is why they are taking such measure on them 

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