UK Urges Nigeria to Expunge Death Penalty Law

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to celebrate the World Day against the Death Penalty, the British Government has called on Nigeria to abrogate the death penalty law, stating that capital punishment cheapens human life.

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, made the call on Monday in a message he sent to newsmen on the commemoration of the World Day against Death Penalty.

In the statement by the Press and Public Affairs Officer, Joe Abuku, the British envoy who disclosed that Nigeria has not carried out any execution since 2013, however expressed worries that over 1,000 prisoners are on death row in Nigeria and the figure accounts for the highest number of death sentences in Africa.

“Although no more death sentences have been implemented since 2013, Nigeria still has more than 1000 prisoners on death row and accounts for the highest number of death sentences in Africa. In 2015 Nigeria recorded 171 death sentences. This year too, Nigerian courts have handed down death sentences.

“I am concerned therefore that Nigeria, a model for democracy in Africa still retains the death penalty in its laws. In 2013 Nigeria carried out four executions, the first since 2006. At the time of the execution all four individuals still had appeals to halt their executions, a violation of international law and I believe Nigerian law too” he said.

Arkwright while noting that the past two decades has seen a significant rise in the number of countries that have abolished capital punishment, however said more work needed to be done, adding that, “The British Government believes the death penalty has no place in the modern world. Its use undermines human dignity; there is no conclusive evidence of its deterrent value; and any miscarriage of justice leading to its imposition is irreversible and irreparable.