Why we no longer sign death penalty –Govt

Why we no longer sign death penalty –Govt

By Sunmola Olowookere
Ondo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Adekola Olawoye, SAN, has said that the state government has no interest in signing the death warrant of any prisoner on death row in the state.

He made this disclosure while speaking with The Hope in an interview.

It would be recalled that some women groups in the state including International Federation of Women Lawyers  (FIDA) had staged a protest earlier this year asking that the state government sign the death warrant of the prisoners on death row in the state.

Those on the death row are transferred to Abeokuta Maximum security prison in Ogun state following their conviction.

Olawoye who explained that the Ministry of Justice is making moves to compile the names of those on the death row in the state blamed it on  bureaucracy in public service which is delaying the transmission of the list from the prison service in the state to the ministry.

He said that it is no longer an appropriate practice for any government to take the life of any  offender over any crime no matter the gravity of the offence committed.

He however stated that work is underway to commute some death sentences to life imprisonment for those who would apply to the Ondo State government for amnesty.

He however clarified that such special considerations would be based on the merits of the case of the particular prisoner.

He emphatically stated that the State government would not sign death warrant of those on death row.

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He explained that the Nigerian constitution also provides for any offence committed under the law to be commuted to a lesser sentence following some special considerations.

He stated that the constitution provides for any sentencing no matter the offence to be commuted to a lesser sentence.

” A prisoner can be given amnesty if he has spent a chunk out of his sentence, in granting amnesty, we consider their conduct according to the information from the prison authorities.

“The government can under the prerogative of mercy and from the recommendation of the Attorney-General of the State commute such sentence to a lesser one. Aged people are also considered under this provision as it is believed that an aged person can no longer commit any crime”

He however emphasised that each of the cases brought before the government are not automatic but are considered on merit

He hinted that the Ondo State government is currently considering some of the prisoners who fall under this category for amnesty following their application for a prerogative of mercy.

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