Thursday, 29 December 2016

Edo executes 3, as Aregbesola grants amnesty to 4 death-row inmates.

Despite the moratorium on death penalty, which Nigeria signed, the Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has signed the warrant for the execution of three death-row inmates at Oko Prison, outside Benin, Edo State. The death row inmates, who were executed on December 23, 2016 are Ogbomoro Omoregie, Apostle Igene and Mark Omosowhota. 

This came as Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, yesterday, granted amnesty to four death-row prison inmates in three South West prisons.  Director of Public Prosecutions and Secretary to Osun State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, Mr Pomade Adeniji, announced the amnesty in a statement in Osogbo. He said, “Pursuant to the advice and recommendations of the State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, Governor Aregbesola, in exercise of his powers, has granted amnesty to the prison inmates.” 

It said the inmates were serving their jail terms at federal prisons in Ilesha, Ibara and Abeokuta as well as the Maximum Security Prison, Kirikiri in Lagos. 

Meanwhile, a civil society group, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, LEDAP, has condemned the execution on December 23, of three death row inmates of Oko Prisons, Edo State following the death warrants signed by Governor Obaseki. The death-row inmates in Benin Prison, were all convicted and sentenced to death about 20 years ago by military tribunals under the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Decree as amended. 

In an earlier petition submitted to the governor by the executed prisoners on December 21, 2016 through LEDAP, protesting the plan for their execution, the prisoners had pleaded with the governor to shelve the planned execution because there was a pending case at the Court of Appeal, Lagos brought by all death row prisoners in Nigeria against their execution. The appeal had not been decided and it was therefore, illegal to carry out the executions, Mr Chino Obiagwu, National Coordinator of LEDAP had argued in the earlier petition. 

He said they were appalled that the earliest social duty of Governor Obaseki upon assumption of office was execution of his citizens on death row. “We reiterate that all prisoners, including those sentenced to death, retain all the fundamental rights endowed on all citizens by the 1999 constitution. This was re-amphasized by the Court of Appeal in the case of Peter Nemi v Attorney General of Lagos State in 1994. 

The Supreme Court of Nigeria also held in Nasir Bello v Attorney-General of Oyo State that a prisoner cannot be legally executed while his case is pending in court. “In so far as an appeal against the sentences of the death row prisoners in Nigeria are pending in court, to the knowledge of the prison authorities and the government who participated in the high court proceedings before the appeal, there is no legal justification for the Edo executions, more so when it was carried out cruelly on a day to the eve of Christmas. 

“It is also appalling that Edo State Government carried out the execution despite the declaration by Nigerian government at its 2009 and 2014 Universal Periodic Reports (UPR) to the United Nations Human Rights Council that Nigeria has put in place a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. “LEDAP calls on the Nigerian government to stop all death penalty executions forthwith. 

The National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly should amend the Criminal Code and Penal Code as well as the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act to remove death sentence as punishment for crimes and replace it with life imprisonment or term of years sentence.” 

Meantime, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, on Wednesday granted amnesty to four death-row prison inmates in three South West prisons. The Director of Public Prosecutions and Secretary to the State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, Mr Pomade Adeniji, announced the amnesty in a statement in Osogbo. The statement said the governor’s gesture was in commemoration of the New Year celebrations. “Pursuant to the advice and recommendations of the State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, Gov. Rauf Aregbesola, in exercise of his powers, has granted amnesty to the prison inmates,” the statement said. 

It said the inmates were serving their jail terms at federal prisons in Ilesha, Ibara and Abeokuta as well as the Maximum Security Prison, Kirikiri in Lagos. It also listed the inmates as Kolawole Adediji and Madelon Adediji, both on the death row and now set free. The statement also said that Ekanade Muyiwa and Adewole Olusoji, who were also on the death row, had their sentences commuted from death to 20 years of imprisonment each. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...