The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has urged Nigeria to either execute about 1,000 Nigerians on death row or abolish the death penalty as a punishment for any offence.
The call was made by the Commissioner Rapporteur for the Rights Situation in Nigeria and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, Ms. Lucy Asuagbor, who led a delegation for the promotion of human and peoples’ rights to Nigeria, at the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja.
Nigeria is currently a signatory to the moratorium for temporary suspension of death penalty and official statistics reveal there are about 1,000 inmates on death row in Nigeria.
The commission wants Nigeria and other member states to not just observe the moratorium but go further to define the status of those on death rows in their various prisons.
Ms. Lucy Asuagbor, says the African Commission had issued resolutions inviting member states to observe a moratorium on death penalty, and a draft on abolition has been adopted.
“Most countries are observing the moratorium but we want them to take a further step to abolish (death penalty) because there is problem with the moratorium, especially when we still have persons on death row like in Nigeria, where we have at least a thousand people on death row – going by the statistics we got from the prison authorities.
“At least a thousand people are on death row and this makes death sentence to be hanging on people’s neck for so long.
“So, it is better for the authorities to take their courage and go straight to abolishing or take the decision that defines the real status of those on the death row either by commuting the sentences or causing them to be executed.
“Our stance is that if they cannot abolish they must observe the moratorium by not pronouncing the death sentence or commuting the sentence of those on death row.”