Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Osu Begs Oshiomhole to Spare Lives of Prisoners

THE Director of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Very Rev. Msgr. Gabriel Osu, has sent a strong appeal to the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to reconsider and spare the lives of the two prisoners awaiting execution in the state.

The two victims, Daniel Nsofor and Osayinwinde Agbomien, who have been convicted since 1996 for murder had their sentences confirmed recently, with Governor Oshiomhole vowing to sign their death warrant. Already, the decision of the governor to assent to the verdict of the court has generated wide condemnation from international rights groups, religious leaders and the civil society, urging him to commute the death sentences to life imprisonment.

According to Msgr. Osu, in a release signed by the Media Relations Manager of the Directorate of Social Communications, Mr. Tony Agbugba, the use of capital punishment worldwide was becoming obsolete and unfashionable, adding that of the 194 independent states that are UN members or have UN observer status, 98 (51 per cent) have long abolished the use of capital punishment.

While kicking against the ongoing move by the Delta State House of Assembly to sign into law a bill that would enforce capital punishment for kidnappers and murders in the state, he called on all people of goodwill to prevail on the two state governments to have a re-think over the delicate matter.

Sighting the provisions of the New Testament as championed by Christ, Osu, a moral theologian, stressed that Christians are bound by Jesus' commands to 'Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbor as yourself,' saying, "We are no longer bound by the harsh Old Testament Law. In the case of a woman caught in adultery (a capital offense), Jesus said to those who wanted to stone her to death, 'Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.'

"I am not saying it is right for anyone to commit murder. All I am saying is that life is very precious and it is only God who has the express authority to take it."

The cleric also noted that the rapid increase in crimes in the society is traceable to the high level of unemployment and injustice in the land, warning that unless government makes concerted effort to address the prevalent injustices, corruption and poverty, the rate of criminal activities would remain unabated.

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