The Bali 9, including four Nigerian nationals

The Indonesian government executed eight foreigners today for drug related offenses, including four Nigerians. The group of death-row inmates was originally referred to as the “Bali 9” because of their prison and execution sentences tied to narcotics trafficking.

The Philippine national, Mary Jane Veloso, was given a last minute reprieve of her execution sentence, largely attributed to the intervention by the President of the Philippines Benigno Aquino, according to reports.

The four Nigerians executed today are Martin Anderson, Silvester Nwolise, Okwudili Oyatanze, and Raheem Agbaje Salami—all for drug trafficking. Martin Anderson and Raheem Agbaje Salami were mistaken for being Ghanaian and Spanish nationals respectively, because they travelled on false passports.

Raheem Agbaje Salami was sentenced to life in prison in Jakarta in 1999, but his sentence was upgraded to execution in 2006 by an Indonesian court. His initial conviction was for being in possession of 5kg of heroin.

Martin Anderson was sentenced to death in 2004 for being in possession of 50 grams of heroin. Okwudili Oyatanze, a former garment business owner, was arrested while in transit in Indonesia while smuggling more than 1 kilogram of heroin in his stomach. Mr. Oyatanze found himself in serious debt after his garment business collapsed in 1998, which lead him to trafficking narcotics from Southeast Asia.

Silvester Nwolise, also sentenced to death, was sentenced in 2004 for smuggling heroin. Mr. Nwolise met his wife while in prison in 2007, and they were married shortly after.

According to reports, all men faced execution by firing squad today. The Bali Nine came from the countries of Nigeria, Australia, Brazil, Philippines, and Indonesia. All inmates are reported to have been executed at midnight. 

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