African Commission Asks Pres. Jonathan To Rescind Directive On Execution Prisoners On Death Row

By Adetokunbo Mumuni/SERAP

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Banjul, The Gambia has requested President Goodluck Jonathan to rescind his directive to the 36 states of the Federation of Nigeria asking them to begin execution of prisoners on death row across the country.

The Commission’s order was confirmed yesterday to Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project by both Honourable Commissioner Zainabo Sylvie Kayitesi and Chairperson of the Working Group on Death Penalty, and the Secretary of the African Commission, Dr Mary Maboreke.

SERAP also confirmed that the order has been sent to President Jonathan through the Ministry of External Affairs.

The Commission is the body charged with overseeing states parties’ compliance with their legal obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to which Nigeria is a state party.

The Commission’s order followed a petition filed by SERAP through its Solicitor Mr. Femi Falana, SAN.

Reacting to the African Commission’s decision Falana said that “This is a landmark decision and one which shows the willingness of the Commission to assert its authority in critical situations such as the present one, in order to ensure full protection of the human rights of the African people, and to hold African governments responsible for their legal obligations under the African Charter.”

Mr. Falana also said that “It is absolutely important that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Muhammed Adoke moves swiftly to ensure full and effective compliance with the Provisional Order that has been issued by the Commission.”

“It would be recalled that the Commission in 1993 issued a Provisional Order restraining former military leader General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida from executing General Zamani Lekwot and others sentenced to death under the Civil Disturbances (Special Tribunal) Act no 2 of 1987, which does not provide for any judicial appeal against the decisions of the special tribunals and prohibits the courts from reviewing any aspect of the operation of the tribunal.

General Babangida obeyed the order. It would also be recalled that the Commission in 2009 issued a similar order asking former Libyan leader the late Muammar al-Gaddafi not to execute over 200 Nigerians on death row in that country. al-Gaddafi obeyed the order, and many of the Nigerians were sent back home. Therefore, there is no reason whatsoever why President Jonathan should not obey the Commission’s order in this case,” Falana also stated.

According to Falana, “As a key player in the African Union, Nigeria should now show leadership and good example by taking steps to immediately implement the decision requiring it to reverse the directive on execution of prisoners on death row, and to uphold the resolutions on moratorium on executions adopted by both the African Commission and the UN General Assembly.”

“Nigeria cannot plead its domestic laws to override its good faith obligations under international law. Ultimately, the government must align itself with the global trend towards abolishing the death penalty,” Mr Falana concluded.

Earlier, in its request for provisional measures dated 25 June 2013, SERAP asked the African Commission to “urgently exercise its authority to request Nigeria to immediately withdraw the directive by President Goodluck Jonathan to 36 states of the Federation of Nigeria to execute all death row prisoners, and fully accord the prisoners their fair trial and other human rights.” The request for provisional measures was submitted in conjunction with SERAP’s communication to the African Commission.

According to the organization, “Unless the African Commission urgently intervenes in this case, there is a risk of irreversible denial of several death row prisoners in Nigeria, which in turn will render nugatory the resolutions on moratorium on executions by the African Commission and the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly.”

Adetokunbo Mumuni
SERAP Executive Director
Lagos Nigeria

7 comment(s)
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gov adam is now idimin of edo state. red lips like?

when a human being execute a fellow human being to death. their by distroying what he cannot create. becos he is in position of power in a digitalis world ? and he claimed that he did it becos of God s command? and yet his not a saint but well coated with corruption. what do u call that person? carnivorous animal! governor adams oshomole have turned him self to idimin of edo state. all hail him for that new position? u see when most pple claimed to be progressive democrat . my bro and sisters pls watch them carefully. simply becos NEMA embarrass gov adam thats what gave rise to his true identity.on a slighted provocation,oh boy!. tomorrow he will still mount stage,dance alanta dance and still wash us like Ariel detergent. gov adam have broken the newtons law? and who will execute him by hanging? thy shall not destroy what u cannot create*

In whose Interest?

In many African countries, the citizens are in death row already without the judge passing judgement. African Commission should fight this(first class) sort of death sentencing by virtue of being born in certain African countries like Nigeria. This done, the "second class" death sentencing by judges will reduce naturally.

The politicians who loot(highest killers) public funds should be sentenced to death and executed. Armed robbers and hired assassins who willfully kill fellow human beings should be sentenced to death and executed. African leaders may want to abuse the penal code like IBB did, but that is not enough reason to save killers from paying the price of their crime.

A trash order

The fact remains that death penalty is justified under the nigerian law. Until that law is changed, African commission is talking trash. Why shouldnt there be death penalty. he who kills by the sword should die by the sword. Imagine the crime committed by the one executed in Edo state the other day. He was alleged to have raped a pregnant woman and after raping her, he inserted a broken bottle inside her private part and she died as a result of the rape and bleeding. In all honesty, does such a person deserve to live.Certainly not. For me, death penalty is justified, any time anywhere. Most people championing the abolitiion of death penalty i am sure have not really had an accasion to reconsider that belief.

death penalty for certificate forgers also

This is exactly why I have been saying that the president has the worst set of advisers since Nigeria gained her freedom from the Brits-If he does not lay them off-then he should expect more wahala for himself-I really do not understand why people who plead and lobby to hired as advisers, cannot keep themselves abreast of human right related issues across the globe-How the Ministry of Foreign Affairs among other government agencies such as the National Human Rights Commision could mislead the president into issuing such statement, beats my imagination! The entire world is doing all within her reach to abolish the death penalty-instead of us endorsing the efforts, we are here lending our support to the boko haramic traits that led Buhari to execute humans as if they are cows-because of where they hail from-as for Adams he supported to hide his shame in d alleged certificate forgery scandal troubling his soul!

I dey laugh

What's African commission thinking? Gej who was no where to be found when it was time for him to address the AU meeting. Gej prefer to defaecate and drink ogogoro than reading anything from African commission.


July 1, Daddy G.O urged all users of the Open Heavens devotional to pray for those on death row. How timely! And to think that that page has been in print since last year is the more amazing. There's something about the prophetic utterance that should tell us God is keenly interested in our affairs. So, let's say a word of prayer for these ones, in Nigeria and around the world, that somehow they will find Jesus and when their moment of departure comes they will find eternal peace with Him in heaven.

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