NHRC, Lawyers Want Death Penalty Abolished In Nigeria

NHRC

National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, and Advocats Sans Frontiers France, (Lawyers without borders France), have called on relevant authorities to revisit the country’s criminal justice system, especially capital punishment in the dispensation of justice in Nigeria.

The groups explained their fears, noting that in a country where the legal system was very susceptible to miscarriage of justice to the extent that innocent persons were often times sentenced to death, the death penalty needs to be abolished.

The groups said they were currently assisting no fewer than 20 death row inmates and hundred awaiting trial inmates with legal representation.

Speaking at a workshop for judicial actors on the Criminal Justice System, organised by ASF France in partnership with Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, European Union, National Human Rights Commission and Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Head of Office, Advocats Sans Frontiers France, Angela Uwandu, noted that though the human rights community was concerned about the fate of the victims, “it has been observed that our death penalty has not helped in checking criminality and that is why we are agitating that it should be expunged from our laws, because we believe that life sentence is better.

“Even countries where they have forensic experts, CCTV in their streets, they still don’t have capital punishment in practice. What we are saying is that in Nigeria, we don’t even have such expertise to determined the culpability of a culprit, our legal system need to be reviewed because if you decide to execute the person and discovers that he is innocent after all, what will you do?

“But if the suspected is sentenced to life imprisonment, there is still a chance to prove his innocence. For us, we believe that even condemned criminals have a right to legal representation. That is why we said we need a review of our criminal justice system,” she said.

On his part, Mr Nicholas Osadolor of NHRC, urged the relevant authorities to amend the country’s criminal justice system, adding, “in Nigeria, people are framed up everyday due to political reasons or other issues and it will be unfair to hang an innocent man or woman for a crime he did not commit.”

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