Last week, Indonesia stood its ground on its declared war on hard drugs through the firing squad execution of eight convicted drug offenders despite global appeals for clemency. The eight-4 Nigerians, 2 Australians, 1 Brazilian and 1 Indonesian paid the ultimate price for daring to challenge the Death-For-Drug-Dealers- Law in Indonesia.
For months, the international media followed the death penalty on the convicted drug dealers and the ensuing campaign to free them from violent death.
First, the appeals came from their concerned home governments, and later, from global citizens and institutions opposed to the death penalty. Then, in the early hours of April 29, 2015, Indonesia carried out the executions, clearly defying all the appeals for mercy and once again, restating its commitment to punish drug peddlers via death penalty.
As human beings, many felt pity for the eight men. But for some, they deserved what they got. The natural emotion was bent on giving them a second chance to amend their fractured lives for good after a long spell in jail in the course of the judicial process leading to their conviction. The second emotion was the mystery and sanctity of death over nothing but possessing and peddling drugs.
Unfortunately for the eight men, the Government of Indonesia applied the Law of Indonesia on Hard Drugs without Human Emotion. And they died!
Why Hard Drugs?
After the emotions came the question: why hard drugs? Over the years, and despite every effort by governments and institutions around the world, a number of men and women, driven by factors unknown to humanity, believe that transporting and peddling hard drugs is the only way to make a living.
Their weird belief has propelled them to defy all warnings, all dangers and all laws across borders, to engage in their illicit drug deals to the detriment of certain citizens in many countries.
Indeed, the debilitating effect of hard drugs has compelled many nations to initiate strict legislations to counter the drug trade to protect vulnerable segments of their population from self-destruction.
Unfortunately, for such governments, the drug barons always have their way, either legally or illegally.
The Sweet in Hard Drugs
Without any doubt, there is sweetness in hard drugs as this report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) clearly illustrates:
‘In 2007 and 2008, cocaine was used by some 16 to 17 million people worldwide, similar to the number of global opiate users.
North America accounted for more than 40 per cent of global cocaine consumption (the total was estimated at around 470 tons), while the 27 European Union and four European Free Trade Association countries accounted for more than a quarter of total consumption.
These two regions account for more than 80 per cent of the total value of the global cocaine market, which was estimated at $88 billion in 2008.’
Paying the Price
It is on record that not only the peddlers pay the price. Those who try to stop them also pay the price. On a recent visit to the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Lagos for visa documentation, l was rudely confronted by faces pasted on a huge notice-board at the entrance of the main building.
Those were innocent faces of NDLEA officers killed by drug dealers or missing-in-action in the course of their duty to stop the drug barons and save society from drug-induced mental breakdown. These men and women, of various ages, and from various parts of the country, paid the price.
The Nigeria in Indonesia Execution
Of the eight drug offenders executed by Indonesia, four were Nigerians! Not an Olympic or Commonwealth Gold Medal. It is an
embarrassment to Nigeria!
The Nigerian government has tried over the years through the NDLEA to educate and stop Nigerians from peddling in hard drugs–the government failed. As they’d say, in Naija, the people are always ahead and faster than the government.
As hard as the government tried and continues to try, the drugs barons always have their way, until one or two are caught and paraded before the cameras.
The men have died. So-what next for Nigeria? Despite the operational challenges, including killing and kidnapping of its operatives, the NDLEA deserves our collective support to appreciate their efforts and elevate their spirits beyond the challenges.
The NDLEA deserves more funding, human capital capacity, strategic training and high-level equipment to operate more effectively and save the nation from the Indonesia scenario.
Last time, it was in Singapore. Last week, the theatre of drug death moved to Indonesia. Where will it reappear next?