No hangmen in Nigeria to execute 1600 on death row

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There are indications that currently Nigeria has no hangmen to execute more than 1600 prisoners that has been sentenced to death across the country. This startling revelation was made recently by the Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Uwemedimo Nwoko in an interview with Gavel International  recently in Lagos.

Earlier in the year, the Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice Marshall Umukoro has urged state governors to sign death warrants of condemned prisoners as a way of decongesting Nigerian prisons. At a conference in Ibadan, Oyo State in February, Justice Umukoro said that recent statistics from the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, indicated that no fewer than 1,612 inmates are on death sentence in Nigeria prisons.

However in an interview at the just concluded Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Lagos, Nwoko said that the blame should not go to governors, rather, the blame should go to Federal government for not having executioners.

He said: “It is not signing of the death warrant that is the issue because the Federal government itself has no executioners. I think there was only one left in the country at a point in time who actually had become old. In fact, he was living on contracts because he had passed retirement age and all that. He was the only one in the whole country going round like spirit of death, killing from one place to another and how many can he killing in a year? So the government actually need to recruit and these are not things that can be owned by the state, it is only federal government that can employ”.

He added: “So it’s not just to ask the state governors to sign the execution warrant. Do you have enough people that will carry out the execution when it is signed? And that is squarely on the table of the Federal government. They are the only ones that can do that because the state government has no prisons or facilities to do so. It is not even entitled under law to keep one. So another major thing the Federal government needs to face is that they must have persons that will carry out the execution. I don’t even know how many people are waiting but whatever the case is, even if you take out one person it creates room for another person so it could help decongest prisons to a large extent”.

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