31 January 2014

Nigeria: Lawyers Want Death Penalty Moratorium Enforced

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The Avocats Sans Frontieres France (ASFF) also known as Lawyers Without Borders and other judicial stakeholders are pushing for the Federal Government's full compliance of the moratorium on death penalty.

Nigeria is a signatory to the United Nations 2007 moratorium on the use of capital punishment. Despite this, some states in the country have signed death warrant on capital offences including kidnapping and several convicts have been executed.

At the ASFF's second practical workshop on death penalty for judicial actors in Abuja yesterday, the country head Angela Uwandu said only an official reinstatement of the moratorium, which will end capital punishment, will exemplify government's commitment to its international obligations.

She called on the National Assembly to expedite action on the criminal justice reform bills currently before it.

Also speaking, the secretary of the human rights committee of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Abuja chapter, Esther Uzoma lamented the arbitrary execution of condemned inmates in Edo State in June last year without concluding hearing on their processes for stay of execution and appeals.

The ASFF's Saving Lives (SALI) project is being organised with the European Union, Access To Justice, the Nigeria Bar Association and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Its intervention in seven states of the federation has provided free legal services and better coordination among criminal justice actors.

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