The Federal Government has condemned the execution of four Nigerians by the Indonesian authorities over drug-related offences, despite pleas for clemency by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The government, while commiserating with the families of the deceased, demanded the repatriation of the corpses of the executed Nigerians.
It explained that they would be given decent burials by their various communities.
A terse statement on Wednesday from the Public Communications Division of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja, gave the names of the executed Nigerians as Martin Anderson, Okwudili Oyatanze, Jaminu Abashin and Sylvester Obiekwe.
The government warned Nigerians to desist from drug trafficking and other offences.
The statement read in part, “The Federal Government of Nigeria has received with deep disappointment, news of the execution of four Nigerians ─ Martin Anderson, Okwudili Oyatanze, Jaminu Abashin and Sylvester Obiekwe ─ by the government of Indonesia for drug-related offences.
“These executions have taken place despite spirited pleas for clemency made at the highest level by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and more recently by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali.
“The Federal Government wishes to express its condolences to the families of the deceased.
“It has asked the Indonesian government for the repatriation of the remains of the executed persons so that they can be accorded decent burials by their various communities.
“Furthermore, government is committed to engage the government of Indonesia and other friendly countries regarding the conclusion of Prisoner Transfer Agreements and other bilateral means of safeguarding the interest and welfare of Nigerians.”
The convicts were reportedly taken to the Nusakambangan Island where they were executed by firing squad on Tuesday.
…Indonesia defends executions
Indonesia on Wednesday staunchly defended its execution of seven foreigners including two Australians as a vital front of its “war” on drugs as testimony emerged of how they went singing to their deaths, The Times of India reports.
Australia withdrew its ambassador in protest at the midnight executions, but Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, said he was merely applying “the rule of law” against narcotics traffickers.
The seven convicts – two from Australia, one from Brazil and four from Africa – were shot by firing squad along with one Indonesian, despite strident foreign appeals and pleas from family members.
Brazil expressed “deep regret” at the execution of its national, who is mentally ill according to his family, and said it was weighing its next move.
The condemned men reportedly all refused blindfolds and sang hymns, among them “Amazing Grace”, as they went to face the firing squad in a jungle clearing, according to a pastor who was with them.
As the clock ticked down to midnight, a group of tearful supporters also sang hymns, embraced and held candles aloft during a vigil at the port in Cilacap, the gateway to the prison island of Nusakambangan.
After the executions, family members could be seen crying as they were ushered away by friends and supporters, an AFP reporter saw.
A Filipina originally set to be executed was given an 11th hour reprieve after a woman who allegedly duped her into ferrying drugs to Indonesia came forward to police in the Philippines.
The reprieve for Mary Jane Veloso was hailed in the Philippines as a miracle and a gift from God, but Indonesian Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo stressed it was only a “postponement” to allow time for police investigations.