A group, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, has faulted President Goodluck Jonathan’s call on governors to sign convicts’ death warrants.
The LEDAP’s National Coordinator, Chino Obiagwu, in a statement on Monday, said the call was “unwarranted and a threat to the country’s unofficial moratorium on death penalty”.
The organisation added that no execution of any death-row inmate could take place until all the cases it instituted on behalf of the convicts were dispensed with.
Jonathan on Sunday at the Fathers’ Day service, organised by the Aso Villa Chapel, urged governors to sign the death warrants of convicted persons.
LEDAP, which called on the President and governors to respect “existing unofficial moratorium on death penalty”, also urged the Federal Government to “adhere to international and regional obligations on peoples’ rights”.
The statement read, “LEDAP recalls that the appeal in respect of the case of Godwin Pius and two others brought on behalf of all death row inmates in Nigeria is still pending before the Court of Appeal Lagos Judicial Division. Until the said appeal is disposed of and in favour of the 36 governors, no execution can be legitimately carried out in Nigeria.
“LEDAP specifically draws the attention of Mr. President and the governors on the existence of its communication against Nigeria (Comm. No. 452/13) pending before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights submitted on behalf of all death row inmates in Nigeria challenging mandatory death penalty provisions in Nigeria.
“The provisions of sections 319 Criminal Code Act (and those of the States) and section 1 (2) (a) and (b) of the Robbery and Fire Arms (Special Provisions) Act, 2004, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria which prescribes mandatory death sentences contravene the obligation of Nigeria to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Optional Protocols.”