As the world marked the International Day Against the Use of the Death Penalty yesterday, the Legal Defence and Assistance Projext (LEDAP) has reminded President Bola Tinubu’s administration “of the irreversible dangers of use the death penalty, and urges its total abolition for all crimes.”
In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER and signed by Mr. Chino Obiagwu SAN (National Coordinator) and Ms. Nora Asobara (Project Officer), the leading civil society organisation “calls on the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minster of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi to urgently consider submitting an executive bill to the National Assembly to amend the Criminal Code and Penal Code Acts to replace provisions for death sentence with more humane punishment such as custodial imprisonment with or without possibility of parole.”
LEDAP added that “The use of the death penalty has not served any deterrence purpose against crime, and neither indeed does it satisfy the justice needs of victims or their families nor bring remedial closure to victims of crime.
“Under the Nigerian criminal law, death penalty is mandatorily applied for a wide range of property or morality offences, apart from homicide. For example, the death penalty is punishment for the offence of armed robbery irrespective of the value of the property stolen or the personal circumstances of the offender, as well as for such offences as adultery, kidnapping in many states, and treason.
“Since the introduction of death penalty for offences of armed robbery by the erstwhile military regimes, incidents of armed robbery and other violent crimes have been on steady increase. The severity of punishment is not a deterance for crime. Offenders could only be deterred by the high possibility of apprehension and not the harshness of the punishment for the planned offence. It is therefore necessary that the only means to reduce crimes is to increase the capacity of law enforcement agencies to effectively and humanely investigate and prosecute Offenders.
“Nigeria maintains one of the most severe death penalty regime in the world along side retentionsist countries like Iran, Sudan, China among others. All democracies in Africa have abolished the use the death penalty and most countries retaining its use have already made it non-mandatory.
“We urge the Nigerian government to stand with the rest of civil democracies to day no to the use of the death penalty.”
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