As background to the following news reports, here is an Opinion article from the Nigerian website Leadership entitled Much Ado About The Return Of Death Penalty.
The return of death penalty in the country after a seven-year moratorium has been on the front burner of public discussion, while the trend has been heavily criticised by organisations in defence of human rights, many people believe it is a step in the right direction. Uche Uduma samples the opinions of Nigerians on the issue.
In a bid to tackle the problem of prison congestion in the country, President Goodluck Jonathan recently called on the 36 state governors to sign death warrants to facilitate the immediate execution of the over 900 death row inmates in prisons spread across the country.
Following the directive by the President, the Edo state Governor Adams Oshomole, signed the death warrants of four convicted prisoners in the state prison. The recent execution of four convicts in Benin put an end to a seven-year moratorium on death penalty in the country. The execution of a fifth condemned inmate, who was to be executed by firing squad was not carried out because the prison where the convict was incarcerated does not have facilities to carry out such execution.
Since 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted four resolutions calling on States to establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to abolishing it. In line with this, about 150 of the UN’s 193 Member States have either abolished the death penalty or no longer practice it. The return of death penalty in Nigeria has obviously put a strain on the campaign by United Nations to eliminate death penalty as a form of punishment. However, other states in Nigeria are making steps to hand down more death penalties.
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, at the official opening of the 5th World Conference against the death penalty last week implored political leaders in countries that still have such laws in their justice systems across the world to abolish it. He pointed that the campaign to eliminate the death penalty as a form of punishment has mainly faced resistance from political leaders…
Now here are several reports about the Anglican Primate’s contribution to this debate.
ABUJA – PRIMATE, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh has berated Amnesty International (AI) for condemning Edo State government over the recent execution of death sentence on four inmates in Benin.
The primate who urged the Federal Government not to allow itself to be gagged by anybody, also called for the imposition of capital punishment on perpetrators of crimes, including rape and killing.
In June, after their death warrants were signed by the Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, the inmates — Osaremwinda Aigbuohian and Daniel Nsofor — whose lawyers have been struggling to obtain a stay of execution on the death sentence; and two other convicts whose identities are yet to be ascertained were hanged in Benin, the action that generated criticism by both local and international bodies…
The Daily Post reports Capital punishment: Those who rape and kill must be killed – Primate of Anglican Church.
Primate of the Church of Nigeria,Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has joined in the bashing of those opposed to capital punishment in the country, saying they are ill-informed.
The Influential religious leader was reacting to the objection of foreign countries and international bodies on the recent execution of four inmates in Benin, Edo state.
The United Nations, Amnesty International and European Union, among others had opposed the action of the state government…
This Day via allAfrica.com Nigeria: Capital Punishment – Don’t Be Gagged, Anglican Primate Tells FG
The Primate, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Tuesday, decried the condemnations that trailed the execution of four condemned prisoners in Benin City by the Edo State Government, urging the federal government not to allow itself to be gagged by anybody.
Reacting to questions at a press conference in Abuja, the Primate noted that Amnesty International had no justification to criticise the government’s action, as they were neither directly nor indirectly affected by the action of the inmates.
He warned that the federal government should not allow anybody or organisation to teach it what morality is all about, insisting that, “the law on capital punishment for those who rightly deserve it should be enforced…”