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The Death Penalty Debate in Nigeria: Insights from the UN Review

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The Death Penalty Debate in Nigeria: Insights from the UN Review
The Death Penalty Debate in Nigeria: Insights from the UN Review

The Death Penalty Debate in Nigeria: Insights from the UN Review

Key Takeaway

The Nigerian Government, led by President Bola Tinubu, informed the United Nations that it has not supported the abolition of the death sentence for convicted criminals. The Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, emphasized the government’s proposal for a temporary prohibition, suggesting that a death sentence not executed within ten years should automatically convert to life imprisonment.

Summary

  • The Nigerian Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, conveyed to the United Nations that Nigeria does not support the abolition of the death sentence.
  • The statement was made during the opening remarks at The United Nations Universal Periodic Review in Geneva.
  • The government, led by President Bola Tinubu, is proposing a temporary prohibition wherein a death sentence not executed within ten years would automatically convert to life imprisonment.
  • No executions have taken place in Nigeria since the United Nations Universal Periodic Third Review over three years ago.
  • The government reiterates its commitment to the Universal Periodic Review as a vital mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
  • The national report for the 4th cycle review has attracted interest and comments from various delegations, including Belgium, Germany, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Portugal.
  • In response to inquiries, the Minister highlighted the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019, which provides for the transmutation of death sentences to life imprisonment if not executed after ten years.
  • Nigeria has not signed or ratified the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR and has not supported recommendations for the abolition of the death sentence.
  • The Minister emphasized the commitment to protecting the rights of vulnerable groups, including older persons and children, without discrimination.

The full Gist

In a recent revelation at the United Nations Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, the Nigerian Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, conveyed a stance that has stirred discussions globally. The Nigerian Government, led by President Bola Tinubu, asserted that it has not supported the abolition of the death sentence for convicted criminals. This revelation, coupled with a proposed temporary prohibition, has opened up a nuanced debate on the efficacy and morality of capital punishment in Nigeria.

The Minister’s Stand

Lateef Fagbemi’s statement, made during the opening remarks, outlined the government’s position on the death penalty. Here are the key points:

  1. Non-Endorsement of Abolition: Nigeria does not endorse the abolition of the death sentence, a position contrary to the stance advocated by many powerful nations.
  2. Temporary Prohibition Proposal: The government proposes a temporary prohibition, suggesting that if a death sentence remains unexecuted for ten years, it should automatically convert to life imprisonment.
  3. Execution Statistics: Notably, no executions have taken place in Nigeria since the United Nations Universal Periodic Third Review over three years ago.

Commitment to Human Rights Mechanisms

The Nigerian government, through Minister Fagbemi, reiterated its commitment to the Universal Periodic Review as a crucial mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The 4th cycle review of Nigeria’s national report attracted attention and comments from several international delegations, emphasizing the global interest in the country’s human rights policies.

Legal Framework: Nigerian Correctional Service Act

To substantiate the proposed temporary prohibition, the Minister highlighted the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019. According to section 12(2)(C), death sentences can be transmuted to life imprisonment if not executed after ten years. This raises questions about the effectiveness of such a provision in the criminal justice system.

Nigeria’s Stance on International Protocols (The Death Penalty Debate in Nigeria)

Minister Fagbemi clarified Nigeria’s position on international protocols. The country has not signed or ratified the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Furthermore, Nigeria has not supported recommendations for the abolition of the death sentence, reinforcing its sovereign right to determine its legal system.

Protection of Vulnerable Groups

The Minister emphasized the government’s commitment to protecting the rights of vulnerable groups, including older persons and children, without discrimination. This commitment aligns with broader human rights principles.

SaharaReporters.com: A Catalyst for Transparency

SaharaReporters.com, the source of this revelation, is described as a groundbreaking news website that empowers citizen journalists to report on corruption and government malfeasance in Africa. This highlights the role of media in fostering transparency and accountability.

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