10 October 2012

Nigeria: Human Rights Group Calls for Abolition of Death Penalty in Nigeria

The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), a human rights group, on Wednesday in Lagos appealed to the Federal Government to abolish death penalty.

Mr Chino Obiagwu, National Coordinator, LEDAP, made the appeal during a media briefing to mark the 2012 World Day Against Death Penalty.

Obiagwu said: "The World Day against Death Penalty is set aside for the peoples and the governments of the world to revisit the use of the death penalty.

"It is also a day to remember the dangers of the use of the death penalty, to console families of those wrongly executed in the past.

"It is also to remind governments of their responsibility to preserve life and not take life,"

According to him, LEDAP's position on death penalty is premised on high statistical data of wrongful convictions and sentences of innocent persons to death in Nigeria and around the world.

Obiagwu said: "The statistics from the Nigeria Law Reports on death penalty cases compiled by LEDAP from 2006 to 2011, show that 39 per cent of death sentences were quashed on appeal within the period.

"LEDAP uses this medium to call on the Nigerian Government to reconsider its stand on the use of capital punishment by abolishing death penalty and replacing same with life imprisonment".

He said LEDAP's campaign for the abolition of death penalty was also borne out of the conviction that the Nigerian government could not continue to ignore the reform of its criminal justice system.

Obiagwu said by working towards the abolition of death penalty, the group aimed to end the cycle of violence in the country.

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