Nigeria: Time to end contempt for human rights

Report
November 5, 1996

Nigeria: Time to end contempt for human rights

9 Halt all executions and abolish the death penalty

Amnesty International is opposed to the death penalty in principle on the grounds that it is the ultimate form of cruel and inhuman punishment. In Nigeria, this is compounded by the fact that nearly all those executed since the return to military rule in 1983 have been convicted after unfair trials in which they were denied right of judicial appeal to a higher court. Furthermore, mass public executions have turned the act of judicial execution into a macabre and degrading public spectacle. No measure by the present Nigerian government would do more to demonstrate its commitment henceforth to respect and protect human rights than halting all executions and abolishing the death penalty. In doing so, Nigeria would join the trend both in Africa and worldwide towards abolition.

The following immediate measures should be taken by the government: institute an immediate moratorium on executions; ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty; amend the Constitution so that the death penalty is no longer mandatory for any offence; and set up an independent judicial commission of inquiry into the application of the death penaltyin Nigeria.