Edo to execute death row prisoners

Photo credit: Punch Newspapers
Photo credit: Punch Newspapers

Barely one month after he was sworn in as the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki has announced his intention to execute three death row prisoners at Oko Prisons in Benin City, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.

The convicts had been sentenced to death by military tribunals under the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Decree 1971 as amended, in which there is no right of appeal.

The prisoners are to be executed today (Friday), according to the Legal Defence and Assistance Project, a non-governmental organisation working to protect and promote human rights and the rule of law in Nigeria.

Chino Obiagwu, LEDAP’s director, in a petition to Mr. Obaseki, urged the governor to halt the planned execution.

“These earmarked prisoners were sentenced by military tribunals under the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Decree 1971 as amended, in which there was no right of appeal. We have filed an appeal pending at the Court of Lagos seeking order that these prisoners have right of appeal under the 1999 Constitution,” Mr. Obiagwu, a lawyer, stated in the petition dated December 23rd.

The group urged the governor not to start his regime with execution of prisoners “who have insisted on their innocence and have not exhausted appeal processes”.

Mr. Obaseki was sworn-in as the governor of Edo State last month, replacing Adams Oshiomhole who had governed for eight years.

PREMIUM TIMES could not confirm if Mr. Obaseki or his predecessor signed for the execution of the inmates.

When contacted, John Mayaki, the interim Chief Press Secretary to Mr. Obaseki, said he was not aware of the petition.

“I need to see the petition before I can respond,” Mr. Mayaki told PREMIUM TIMES.

In 2013, four prisoners on death row were hanged by officers of the Nigeria Prison Service in Edo State, with Mr. Oshiomhole signing the death warrant for two of them, according to Henry Idahagbon, then Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the state.

It was the first known execution in Nigeria since 2006, according to Amnesty International.

The prisoners – Chima Ejiofor, Daniel Nsofor, Osarenmwinda Aigbonkhan, and Richard Igagu – were convicted of murder, armed robbery, and rape. They had instituted a suit before a federal court contending that executing them after 16 years of trauma and imminent death was inhuman and degrading and asked that their death sentences be commuted to terms of imprisonment.

“These people were convicted 15 years ago,” Mr. Idahagbon had said following a widespread condemnation that greeted the hanging of the inmates.

“I was only informed of this (last night) by the prison authorities that they had been hanged. One of them was convicted in Kaduna, while their matters had gone up to the Supreme Court and came back to the Federal High Court, Benin.

“It really has nothing to do with us a government. The governor only signed the death sentence of two, while previous governors signed that of two others.”


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  • bulus

    Did you Mr robbers give your victims right of appeal before sending them to the great beyond? No I don’t think so…you take someone’s life but you don’t wanna die..I wonder why they wasted so much time dispatching these lowlifes

    • FineBoy

      I have been robbed and I know how close to death u can be and helpless when u have kids in ur custody

  • Whaziu

    ..c’mon bulus ,you might wanna re-read the story with open mind.
    Those guys were convicted by illegal military tribunal.They are not soldiers.
    Secondly,they’ve spent over 16 years behind bars in CCC..condemned criminal cells…solitary.
    Thirdly,if taking another person’s life is wrong why is the state arrogating itself such power to do so.
    The whole Nigeria criminal justice system need to be overhauled.The stench from the bench will make you puke.
    Pls don’t kill ’em Mr.Guv.

  • Gobe gobe

    They deserved nothing but death. Those god forsaken NGOs should take their fight to protect the innocent people those cruel fellow brutalise on the street for no reason. Those lowlifes you are fighting for killed and sniffed life out of victims without mercy.

  • Iskacountryman

    blood shall flow…

  • Maria

    Mr Obaseki….yet you claim you are a pastor? In this age? Please, stop this joke in case it is one

    • Mufu Ola

      Wait until u’re a victim of these people.When you witness some of their crimes u won’t feel sorry for any of them.

      • Maria

        I have been robbed at gunpoint before…but Jesus preaches forgiveness and peace. If Obaseki is a christian, why is he advocating death penalty?