By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
Avocats Sans Frontières France, (ASF), also known as Lawyers Without Borders, on Wednesday disclosed that 2,359 inmates are currently on death row Nigeria.
ASF, Country Representative in Nigeria, Angela Uwandu, made this known in a statement to commemorate the 16th ‘World Day against the Death Penalty’.
According to Angela, “2,285 people were on death row at the end of 2017 in Nigeria which is a significant increase from 1,979 in 2016 and 1,677 in 2015. Currently Nigeria has 2,359 death row inmates. It is evident from the rate of crime increase in Nigeria that death penalty is clearly not a deterrent.
“Persons on death row often have to endure the unsanitary and unhealthy environments they are confined in with many lacking adequate legal representation.
“ASF France joins the rest of the world to celebrate the 16th World Day against the Death Penalty. This year’s celebration seeks to draw attention to the living conditions of persons on death row across the world and indeed in the Nigerian Prisons.”
She revealed that to mark this year’s celebration, ASF France in collaboration with the Makwanyane Institute of the Cornell Centre on the Death Penalty Worldwide is holding a two-day training in Lagos state for capital defence lawyers in Nigeria.
The training according to the country Representative, which is supported by the French Embassy Abuja, the Australian High Commission in Nigeria and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton law firm, aims at equipping Nigerian lawyers with specific skills to adequately represent persons facing the death penalty in Nigeria.
“ASF France uses this opportunity to re-iterate that the death penalty does not serve as a deterrent to crimes and therefore does not serve any humane purpose in reformative justice. It is against the principle of the right to life enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the international human rights norms.
“In 2017, Nigeria handed down the highest number of death sentences across the Sub-Saharan region for offences ranging from murder, treason, treachery, terrorism, kidnapping and armed robbery.
“ASF France therefore calls once more on the Nigerian government to put in place an official moratorium on executions as it works to reform its justice system.
“ASF France has been working for the abolition of the death penalty in Nigeria since 2011 and is committed to achieving a restricted use of the death penalty through judicial and legislative means. Angela, added.