Agbakoba, Falana, Adebanjo Oppose Death Penalty For Corruption

Agbakoba, Falana, Adebanjo Oppose Death Penalty For Corruption

Eminent Nigerians comprising Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Olisa Agbakoba and Femi Falana – along with a leader of pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, on Thursday opposed the call for capital punishment for corruption.

Agbakoba, Falana, Adebanjo Oppose Death Penalty For Corruption

In its proposal for constitution amendment submitted to the National Assembly, the northern political group, Arewa Consultative Forum, recommended that anybody found guilty of corruption should be killed.

President, Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, and human rights lawyer, Fred Agbaje, also faulted the North’s call, saying imposition of death penalty had never served as deterrent to an offence.

They all spoke separately with our correspondents on the telephone on Thursday.

Agbakoba, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Assoiation, and Falana said what the nation needs to fight corruption is a strengthened legal system and a strong leadership with sufficient political will.

Agbakoba said, “It is understandable that people are frustrated and that is why they are calling for extreme measure but what we need is strong leadership to tackle corruption.

“There is extreme poverty in the land. Even if you impose death penalty, corruption will continue to grow if there is no strong leadership.

“What we need is strong EFCC, strong police, strong SSS, strong ICPC which will ensure that corrupt persons will be dealt with.”

Falana, a human rights lawyer, who described death penalty as barbaric, said with its introduction as punishment for robbery about 40 years ago, armed robbery continued to be on the rise in the country.

He said, “It is not the death penalty that will serve as the deterrent, it is the political will of the government of the day . It is the strong political will of the government of the day that will enforce the law, that will ensure that there is no sacred cow; that will ensure that reports indicting highly influential criminals are not suppressed.”

Adebanjo said the call for death sentence on corruption cases was too severe and that if those convicted for corruption charges were given necessary terms of imprisonment, it would act as deterrent.

Adebanjo said, “I think that is too severe. I think if those convicted of corruption are given necessary terms of imprisonment, it will be a form of deterrent. But to go to the extent of death sentence, I think it is too severe.”

Okei-Odumakin advocated a life imprisonment over death sentence.

She said, “While I have issues with capital punishment in general, the dimension corruption has taken in Nigeria is so frightening and it is becoming clear that we require to look at drastic measures to combat it.”

Agbaje, who also admitted the futility of death sentence as a deterrent for crime, called for “firmer and more severe punishment” instead of capital punishment.

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