Four Nigerians Face Execution in Indonesia

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has denied clemency appeals for four Nigerian men convicted of drug trafficking.

Martin Anderson - Darren Whiteside:Reuters
The Indonesian government has announced that it will carry out the execution of the convicts that includes seven other drug traffickers from various countries.

Okwudili Oyatanze, Martin Anderson, Jamiu Owolabi Abashin and Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise are among those condemned to death. Citizens of Brazil, France and the Philippines are also due to be executed.

Okwudili Oyatanze

Known in Indonesia’s penal system as “The Death Row Gospel Singer,” Okwudili Oyatanze, 41, has made the most of his incarceration, writing more than 70 songs and recording multiple albums behind bars. He was arrested in 2001 while trying to smuggle heroin through Jakarta’s international airport, in his stomach, after arriving on a flight from Pakistan. He was convicted the following year and sentenced to death. Martin Anderson, 50, (pictured above) who had traveled to Indonesia on a fake passport was arrested in Jakarta in 2003 on a charge of possessing about 1.8 ounces of heroin. He was sentenced to death in 2004.

Jamiu Owolabi AbashinJamiu Owolabi Abashin, 50 (pictured right), has served the longest sentence of the convicts. Homeless and living on the streets of Bangkok in 1998, he was convinced by a fellow African living there to accept a quick-paying job in which he would get $400 for bringing a package of clothing to the friend’s wife in Indonesia. The package he was to deliver contained nearly 12 pounds of heroin, and he was arrested after landing at Surabaya’s airport and convicted in 1999.

Silvester Obiekwe  - Metro Tv, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images47-year-old Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise, (pictured left) who was lured from Lagos to Pakistan by fellow Nigerians on the promise of a job with good wages has since married and had kids while serving his sentence. Arrested in 2001, he was convicted the following year of bringing heroin into the country, and was sentenced to death. He met his wife who is Indonesian in prison in 2007, when she was accompanying a friend who was visiting another inmate. The two married later that year and have had two children, now 5 and 3.

President Joko Widodo’s denial for clemency appeals is attributed to the fact that the country is dealing with a drug emergency problem. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Indonesia is fast becoming a drug trafficking hub for various transnational organized crime cartels. As such, the country has adopted a severe stance against drug-related crime, and heavy penalties — including capital punishment.

According to the New York Times who recently released the photos of these individuals, this is believed to be the largest such execution in Indonesia in decades, firing squads could start the job as early as 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday. As of 2013, 15,316 Nigerians are being held in prisons abroad with the largest number of 752 in the United Kingdom.

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