Home / Lead Story / Indonesia executes 4 Nigerians, 4 others, for drug trafficking

Indonesia executes 4 Nigerians, 4 others, for drug trafficking

Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise
Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise


Following the rejection of pleas for leniency from the inmates, families and diplomats by President Joko Widodo, Indonesia, Wednesday morning, executed by firing squad, four Nigerians, as well as four others from Brazil, France, Australia and one of its own.

Frenchman Serge Areski Atlaoui and Filipino, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso were, however, spared as they have ongoing appeals.

The executed inmates also include; Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, Indonesian Zainal Abidin bin Mgs Mahmud Badarudin and Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte.

The four Nigerians are: Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise, a Nigerian citizen born on 7 July 1965. He was sentenced to death in September 2004 by a court in Tangerang. His clemency appeal was rejected in February. The court found him guilty of trafficking 2.6lb of heroin via Sukarno Hatta Airport in Jakarta in 2002.

In January 2015 the Indonesian National Narcotics Body said that Sylvester was running a drugs ring in Nusakambangan jail, where he was being held.

Okwudili Oyatanze, was a 45-year-old Nigerian citizen and was given the death sentence by the Tangerang court for trafficking 2.4lb of heroin through Sukarno Hatta airport in 2001. His clemency was rejected in February 2015.

Another Nigerian, Raheem Agbaje Salami appeared to be a Nigerian holding a Spanish passport. He was believed to be Jamiu Owolabi Abashin, but entered Indonesia using a Spanish passport with the name Raheem Agbaje Salami.

Salami was caught with 11lb of heroin inside his suitcase in Surabaya airport on 2 September 1998. A court in Surabaya gave him a life sentence in April 1999, which was reduced by the High Court to 20 years.

Salami appealed but the Supreme Court gave him a death sentence. His clemency application was rejected on 5 January 2015. He tried to challenge the rejection of his clemency but the challenge failed.

There was some confusion surrounding the nationality of Martin Anderson. Initial reports said he was Ghanaian, but it was later reported he had travelled to Indonesia on a false passport and was in fact Nigerian.

He was arrested in Jakarta in 2003, and a court gave him the death penalty. His clemency appeal was rejected in January 2015.

Meanwhile, Australia has recalled its ambassador from Indonesia in protest over two Australian men who were executed for drug smuggling.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, Tuesday that the executions were “both cruel and unnecessary,” adding that Chan and Sukumaran had been “fully rehabilitated” while in prison.

“We respect Indonesia’s sovereignty but we do deplore what’s been done and this cannot be simply business as usual,” he said.

On its part, Brazil’s government also expressed its “deep dismay” at the execution of one of its citizens, Rodrigo Gularte.

The families of the condemned prisoners paid them final, emotional visits on Tuesday afternoon before the sentences were carried out.

All eight refused offers of blindfolds and were singing together in their final moments, a pastor present at the execution.

Hours after the executions, ambulances left the prison island, taking the prisoners’ bodies to their chosen funeral sites in Indonesia or their home countries.

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