20 November 2012

Nigeria: Forget Amnesty! No Reprieve for Murderers


I read a newspaper editorial last week that took Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State to task over his signing of death warrants for two murder convicts. According to the editorial, Amnesty International, the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) and the Human Rights Social Development and Environment Foundation (HURSDEF) are some of the rights groups that are campaigning for a reprieve for the death row inmates from the governor.

In my opinion, rescinding the death warrants will not in be in the interest of our society for the simple reason that the convicts in question had no justification for not only robbing but also, killing and dissecting the body parts of their victims. Their heartlessness was one of a sort that is of the highest level of which I see no reason whatsoever why they should be pardoned, regardless of the principles on which others groups argue. Besides, there isn't any better way of deterring crime than the certain knowledge that a severe penalty awaits the deviant.

The failure of our criminal justice system should not be used as propaganda machinery that may likely swerve the intention of the Governor. It is a truism of which I am not particularly shying away from that our security and criminal justice system in Nigeria are dysfunctional. But, we shouldn't wait in aloofness on a presumption that until they make a move, nothing can be done. Else, the system will continue to rotten. We must not fold our hands and allow some unnecessary and unwanted bloodlettings to become so regnant in our society.

Remember the killings of the about forty students in Mubi, Adamawa State; the cold murder in Lagos of Cynthia Osukogwu, a postgraduate student of Nasarawa State University; the recent killing of a retired army general in Maiduguri and many other wanton killings that have continued to pervade our society either as a result of politics, rituals, sheer hatred, or unemployment. What would have been our actions if these slain persons were to be our friends, relatives, neighbours, etc.? Why wouldn't the prisons be congested so long as such convicts are kept and fed with our money? How can these atrocities cease to exist if hiding places are always available for the perpetrators of such acts? How would such killings stop if a tit-for-tat punishment is not meted on such persons in order to serve as deterrence to others?

As we all know, murdering the murderers will not resurrect the murdered but it will certainly limit the occurrence of murder. As such, it is high time we begin to face our problems squarely and think of alternative ways to fix them. Things are getting worse on a daily basis and some groups appear with a claim to champion a so-called human rights agitation without a proper analysis of the criminality that these persons have meted on their fellow beings. Yes, it is true that the dead will never live again with us on earth but their cases shouldn't be buried just like that. They had the right to live, which was trampled upon by some disgruntled persons. I never see a reason why they should be spared.

If things continue to unravel the way they appear, I doubt any glimmer of hope that our lives will continue being secured because we risk living in an unsecured society that is artificially created by a few so-called leaders' deliberate negligence and a crop of some organisations that claim to champion so-called human rights. They should struggle to see that fair trials are made at appropriate times if they feel that such judgements are not fair.

Besides, our prisons have since been filled with so many suspects and convicts that are awaiting trial and sentencing such persons who have committed such bestiality to life imprisonment translates to the fact that our prisons will continue to full blast with innocent souls and the faces of beasts that have human faces. More so, our generated revenue will be wasted on some persons that are of no importance to the society. Yes, they are of no importance because they feel others are not supposed to live. Why on earth should their lives be spared too? Remember that this is an intentional homicide and not a mistakable one.

These so called Human Rights organisations should first of all, initiate a stage that would propel our justice system to be more proactive by ensuring that suspects are promptly tried and acquitted. I view that to be the fundamental struggle that such organisations should do, rather that claiming rights for some ungratified persons that deliberately exterminate the life of others. And until this is noted, such bestialities would continue unravelling.

El-Kalash wrote from Kontagora, Niger State

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