Barring any unforeseen development, Indonesia will execute four Nigerians and five others who have been convicted for drug related offences before midnight on Tuesday despite intervention by many world governments.
The four Nigerians to be executed include, Martin Anderson, 50, Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise, 47, Jamiu Owolabi, 50 and Okwudili Oyatanze, 41.
The Nigerians were all arrested and sentenced to death within a 14 year period for trafficking in heroin.
Other convicts to die by firing squad are nationals from countries such as, Brazil, Australia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
The Nigerian Government had on March 9 appealed to the Indonesian government not to execute the Nigerians. It called for a speedy action on the ongoing negotiations between Nigeria and Indonesia on the Prisoner Transfer Agreement, PTA, which would allow the two nations transfer inmates in their custody.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Danjuma Sheni, who made the appeal on behalf of the federal government at a meeting with the Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Harry Purwanto, said the government knew the gravity of the offenses of the Nigerians but requested the Indonesians to extend mercy to them based on diplomatic conditions.
Purwanto promised to deliver the diplomatic message through the relevant channels.
However Indonesia will go ahead with the executions despite appeals by many other nations apart from Nigeria.
Family members of the convicts held an emotional meeting with the convicts earlier today in the jail as the Indonesian government refused last minute global appeals to spare the lives of the convicts.
In Australia, hundreds of people are said to be currently gathering across the country to await planned vigils for Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, an Australian couple that will also be executed tonight.
Earlier the Australian government had issued a terse statement saying there will be dire diplomatic consequences if Indonesia goes ahead to execute its citizens.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told ABC television that, “Should these executions proceed in the manner that I anticipate, of course, there will have to be consequences.”
Australia has had frosty relations with Indonesia in recent years especially over disputes regarding smuggling and spying controversies. In 2013 Indonesia recalled its envoy and froze military and intelligence cooperation over reports that Canberra had spied on Indonesian officials, including the former president’s wife.
Meanwhile the death penalties have been condemned by the United Nations.
Indonesian authorities have not announced the specific time the executions would be carried out but it is expected to take place today in a clearing in the forest.
The last time a group of drug traffickers were executed early this year it was carried out at midnight.
However the authorities said that the prisoners will be given the choice to stand, kneel or sit before the firing squad, and to be blindfolded. Their hands and feet will be tied, it added.
Twelve marksmen are assigned to fire at the heart of each prisoner, but only three have live ammunition in their weapons. This will allow executioners’ identity to be unknown.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino said on Tuesday that he had made one last appeal to the Indonesian government to spare a Filipina among the nine, arguing that she could be a vital witness in prosecuting drug syndicates.
The Indonesian government has declined the offer.
Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao based in the United States also made a similar appeal which has been rebuffed by the Indonesian government.
Indonesia has harsh punishments for drug crimes. It resumed executions in 2013 after a five-year hiatus.