Benin – The Edo Controller of Prisons, Mr. John Ewulo, said on Wednesday that 37 prisoners were on the death row in prisons in the state.
Ewulo said this in Benin at a conference organised by a France based organisation Advocates SANs Frontiers and the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).
The theme of the conference was “Strengthening the role of stakeholders in addressing the issue of death penalty”.
Represented by Mr Osas Omokaro, the controller said the figure included those who had exhausted their rights of appeal.
Ewulo added that 31 condemned convicts had been transferred to other prisons for security reasons.
The controller said 1, 971 inmates were currently locked up in prisons across the state out of which 1, 654 of them are awaiting trial.
He added that about 80 per cent of the prison inmates were being held for capital offences such as murder and kidnapping.
The controller said the prisons were over populated and called for urgent measures to de-congest them.
The Head of Mission in Nigeria of Advocates SANs Frontiers, Celine Lemmel, said lawyers in Nigeria should begin discussion on the need to end the death penalty.
She described it as inhuman and abuse of the fundamental rights of citizens.
“We are here on awareness conference of saving lives on the issue of death penalty and to open discussion on death penalty.”
She said the organisation was collaborating with France and Nigerian lawyers to seek a way forward.
“We are working with local team of people and our French lawyers are liaising with lawyers here to seek an end to the problem.”
Mrs Patricia Iyomo, the state’s Vice Chairman of NBA, said although death penalty was part of Nigeria’s criminal system efforts should be made to abolish it.