Human rights organisation Amnesty International has warned Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, not to authorize the execution of any death-row prisoner.

Amnesty made the call in in a statement signed by its country Director, Osai Ojigho.

The statement reads: “The Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, must not authorize the execution of any death-row prisoner and if he has already authorised executions must immediately revoke it.

“Amnesty International is extremely concerned that executions may resume in Nigeria. On 27 March 2019, the press reported that the Ondo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adekola Olawoye, stated that the Ondo State Governor will commence the signing of execution warrants. Since the declaration was made Amnesty International has received a report that the Ondo State Governor may have signed executions warrant.

“Governor Rotimi Akeredolu must recognize that the death penalty is a cruel punishment that has no place in the 21st century and we ask him to respect the right to life.

“No matter what the crime is, who the prisoner is, or the method of execution used, nothing can justify the deliberate taking of human life by the government. There is no convincing evidence that the death penalty deters crime better than imprisonment, therefore the death penalty is an ineffective punishment. The possible resumption of execution in Nigeria will constitute a setback for the country and it should be avoided, particularly as the world is moving away from the use of the death penalty.

“The last time Nigeria carried out an execution was in December 2016 when three men were executed in Benin city prison. Of the over 2,000 people on death row in Nigerian prisons, those who have exhausted their right of appeal are at risk of execution and could be executed as soon as a state governor authorises their death warrants. Since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999, most state governors have not signed execution warrants.

“Amnesty International is calling on Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to commute all death sentences issued in Ondo State to prison terms; make a public commitment that he would not authorize the execution of any prisoner; and take immediate steps to abolish the death penalty for all crimes in Ondo State."

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