AI Calls for Abolition of Death Sentence in Nigeria, As global Execution Witnesses 50% Increase

  •   China, Iran, S/Arabia tops executing countries
      Many Nigerians still on death row for minor offences
      No execution in Nigeria for 10 years

Senator Iroegbu and Nosa Enobhayisobo in Abuja

Amnesty International (AI) has called for the abolition of death sentence in Nigeria and all over the world, saying that there has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of executions globally.

The Director of AI in Nigeria, Amb. Mohammed Ibrahim, made this call on Wednesday in Abuja during a media briefing on their latest report titled: “Death Penalty 2015: Facts and Figures”.

He said that Nigeria is among the 58 retentionist countries, whose constitution still upheld death penalty for ordinary crimes.

He said that the AI has been leading the campaign against death penalty in Nigeria and all over the world, advocating it that it be expunged from the constitution.

He however clarified that even though Nigeria has not publicly executed any criminal for the last 10 years, there are many Nigerians are being hurled up in congested prisons on deathrow waiting endlessly for execution.

But Mr. Thankgod Ebose, a victims who was in deathrow for 27 years and was lucky to escape alive, gave account of secret killings in the Nigerian Prisons.

Ebose recounted how he was imprisoned at the age of 19 over firearms incident and was to be executed by firing squad. He noted how an argument over the mode of his execution saved his life, having been in line after four of his deathrow inmates have been executed by hanging.

He also disclosed that he was among the lucky few to have escaped the pangs of death and to air of freedom, saying, “there are many innocent Nigerians in jail”.

“The Sherrif argued that I was to be executed by firing squad and not by hanging and that was how Amnesty International took up my case to the governor who later ordered that I be freed,” he narrated.

“I don’t have much to say but support the Amnesty International so that death sentence will be cancelled. Do you know that there are people who did not commit offence have been executed. They convicted innocent persons.

“I still think I am dreaming, but I pray if its a dream let us then remain in the night. My execution, which suppose to take place in 2013 was a miracle because then I appealed to Amnesty International to help me and they took up my case and I was freed. After releasing me, they also helped me in business and life,” he said.

Against this backdrop, the AIN Director has called on the Federal government to not just abolish the death penalty but to also revamp the criminal laws, which seems to protect the rich but easily punish the poor.

Ibrahim also warned against killings of Nigerians engaged in peaceful protest, saying that it is against the law.

“If anybody is killed in the time of peaceful process or peaceful assembly is unlawful and we are investigating the issues across the country,” he said.