Governor Adams Oshiomhole
By Adibe Emenyonu
The decision of Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State to sign the death warrants of two murder convicts has elicited criticism from the Human Rights groups, including Amnesty International, who are of the opinion that most countries, including African countries, now commute death sentences to life imprisonment.
However, Edo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Osagie Obayuwana yesterday defended the governor’s action saying he acted within the law.
The duo Oshiomhole allegedly signed the death warrants are Osaremwinda Aiguohian and Daniel Nsofor, whose convictions were confirmed by the Supreme Court.
Aiguohian who was said to have killed his victim and dismembered the body had described his action in his defence during trial in court as a “mistake” but the Supreme Court in affirming his death sentenced in 2004, said “the likes of Aiguohian belongs to Hades”.
The second convict, Nsofor was sentenced to death for strangling a woman to death after dispossessing her of an undisclosed sum of money.
Oshiomhole in exercising his Prerogative of Mercy was said to have considered the cases of the two convicts too heinous and therefore signed their death warrants to enable them face execution by hanging.
The governor according to sources also reviewed the death sentences of four other convicts and commuted the sentences of two life imprisonment while the two others were set free.
It was gathered that the Prison authorities in their report to the state government concerning the recent jail break at Oko Prison, Benin City had indicated that the continued imprisonment of condemned persons in prisons in the state constituted great risk, as they have often been the arrow-head of jail break by prisoners.