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Nigerians React Angrily to Execution of Nigerian in Singapore


Singapore's execution of a Nigerian convicted of drug trafficking has provoked some angry reactions in Nigeria. Gilbert da Costa in Abuja reports for VOA, Nigerians are particularly upset that even their president's intervention could not save the young Nigerian.

Nigeria's leading human rights groups, politicians and opposition figures have issued a strong denunciation of the hanging Friday of 21-year-old Iwuchukwu Tochi.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and international human rights groups had appealed for clemency.

Dubem Onyia, Nigeria 's former deputy foreign minister, says Nigeria should break diplomatic ties with Singapore. "The Nigerian government has a right to protect the interest of Nigerians abroad, and should immediately severe diplomatic relationship with Singapore. In any case, we don't have a Singaporean Embassy in Nigeria. If Singapore can treat Nigerians the way they treated us, the best thing is for us to severe diplomatic relations with them. It is as simple as that," he said.

Legal experts in Nigeria have said the trial process was not fair. But Peter Egon, an international relations expert in Lagos, says the conviction was carried out under Singapore's laws and cannot, therefore, be faulted. "Somebody, who leaves his country, goes to a foreign country, and he breaks the law there, and the law of the land says, once you carry drugs you are killed, so, the law has taken its course, in my opinion," he said.

The Nigerian was arrested at Singapore's Changi Airport in November 2004, carrying more than 700 grams of heroin.

Under Singapore's tough anti-drug laws, the death penalty is mandatory for anyone caught with more than 15 grams of the drug.

Another African, convicted of abetting in the offense, was also executed.

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