A judge in Nigeria’s southern Delta State wants governors in the country to sign warrants for persons on death row.
According to Judge Marshal Umukoro, doing so will help decongest Nigeria’s prisons which has over 1,600 inmates on death row, according to statistics from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The judge also avers that doing so will help deter people from committing crimes that will land them such punishment. He was delivering a lecture titled, ‘The Judiciary and Criminal Justice System,’ at an institution in the city of Ibadan.
His position is in sharp contrast to that of international right groups like Amnesty International (AI) who have repeatedly called for the abolishing of the death penalty.
The most recent executions in Nigeria were in late December 2016 when three prisoners were killed in Edo State. AI called on the state government to abolish the executions describing the Edo case a ‘‘backward step in global trends towards abolishing death penalty.’‘
Africa’s most populous nation still has executions on their law books and it is applicable for persons convicted for murder and armed robbery.
Before executions are carried out after conviction, state governors have to approve the action. Local media reports that most governors have also commuted death sentences to life imprisonment. Lagos State on Wednesday approved death penalty for kidnappers, a move AI has swiftly condemned.