Governor Adams Oshiomhole
Lawmaker supports execution
Hammed Shittu in Ilorin and Adebiyi Adedapo in Abuja
The National Human Right Commission (NHRC) alongside some coalition of right groups have pleaded with Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State to rescind the execution order he made on two inmates of the Benin prison.
However, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Justice, Hon. Ali Ahmad, has expressed his support for Oshiomhole execute the two condemned prisoners.
The coalition during a special meeting on Nigeria’s prison reforms in Abuja, appealed to Oshiomhole to have a rethink on the proposed execution of Daniel Nsofor and Osayinde Agbomien.
The NHRC has, however, admitted an error in the names of the inmates marked for execution.
The commission in a letter dated October 22, 2012, which was signed by Mrs. Oti Ovrawah, and addressed to Oshiomhole, reiterated its call on the governor on the need withdraw the execution order.
The letter read: “While appreciating the clarification in respect of the identity of the two inmates scheduled for execution, we wish to reiterate our earlier call on Your Excellency to rescind the execution order on Daniel Nsofor and Osayinwinde Agbomien.”
The commission also stated in the letter that it had received a petition which indicated that the two inmates together with other death row inmates have a pending case at the Federal High Court Benin.
In view of this, NHRC urged Oshiomhole to reconsider his decision on the execution order.
“Further petitions received at the commission has revealed that these two inmates together with other death row inmates are applicants in suit number FHC/B/CS/0136/2012, between Olu Fatogun & seven others vs Governor of Edo State & controller General of Prisons, pending before the Federal High Court in Benin, which the petitioner claimed to has been brought to the respondents notice, we urge Your
Excellency to reconsider and rescind the planned execution, pending the determination of issues raised herein,” she said.
Although skeptical of the current state of the inmates, leader of the coalition, Olawale Fapohunda, appealed that the governor should exercise restrain on the planned execution, if it has not been done.
The coalition consisting of representatives from the NHRC, CLEEN Foundation,
Avocats Sans Frontières France (ASF France), Confluence of Rights, Legal Aid Council, Nigerian Prisons Service and Cure-Nigeria, resolved to engage alternative means to appeal with the governor to reconsider his stands on the matter.
Also, ASF France in a separate statement called on Oshiomhole to suspend the planned execution
In a statement signed by its national coordinator Celine Lemmel, it stated that the ASF France office in Nigeria got corroborating information of the imminent execution of Calistus Ike, an inmate who was in death row in Enugu prison, along with other detainees in Benin City. The Governor of Edo State apparently signed the warrant for executions.
ASF in the statement said a National Study Group on death penalty had recommended moratorium execution and abolition of death penalty in Nigeria.
“ASF France recalls that the 2004 National Study Group on Death Penalty advised to put a moratorium on execution and abolish death penalty in Nigeria. The last official execution was carried out in 2002. Since then, there is a de facto moratorium on execution. The signature of warrant of executions in Edo State proves that the situation remains very fragile and that actions need to be continued,” Lemmel said.
Meanwhile Ahmad called the international agencies to back off and allow Nigeria implement its law “since death penalty is still part of the Nigerian constitution.”
Ahmad made this submission in Ilorin, Kwara State during an interview with newsmen shortly after donating a transformer and electrical poles worth about N5 million to Duma community, Oja-gboro, Ilorin and a block of three classrooms to Isale-Asa local government education authority primary school in Ilorin.
The lawmaker said the position of the House of Representatives on the controversial issue is that, “Edo Governor was right to sign the execution of the two condemned prisoners.”
Ruling out arbitrariness in the decision of the Edo State governor, Ahmad noted that the same governor had granted two condemned prisoners amnesty and commuting the sentence of one other to life prison.
He added that, “while two others whose execution order is causing ripples were said to have committed grievous offence which precludes them from governor’s leniency.”
He said, “The position of the House is that death penalty is still part of our law in Nigeria and anybody that is saying that death penalty should not be carried out is saying that the law of the country should not be implemented. So on that core, I disagree with them.”