LEDAP, HURILAWS call for abolition of death penalty
The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) in collaboration with the Human Right Law Service (HURILAWS) have called for the abolition of death penalty, particularly, against women in Nigeria.
LEDAP Senior Programmes Manager, Mrs. Pamela Okoroigwe and HURILAWS Senior Programmes Manager, Mr. Collins Okeke, who made this call at a news conference, said one of the reasons death penalty should be stopped is that once it’s done, it cannot be undone, regardless whether the person is discovered to be innocent.
The event with the theme: ‘Women and the Death Penalty; an Invisible Reality’ held to commemorate the 19th World Day Against Death Penalty and was organised with the support of the World Coalition Against Death Penalty.
According to the organisations, gender based discrimination often coupled with other factors such as age, sexual orientation, disability, religion, and culture expose women to intersecting forms of structural inequalities and such prejudices can weigh heavily on sentencing.
This discrimination, they said, can also lead to inadequate consideration of critical mitigating factors during arrest and trial, including the specific vulnerabilities of women and likely patterns of abuse and gender-based violence that could have been triggers.
“While working towards the complete abolition of death penalty worldwide for all crimes and for all genders, it is crucial to caution against the discrimination women in Nigeria face and the impact of such discrimination on women in conflict with the law within our criminal justice system,” they said.
Okoroigwe said their research revealed that death row inmates are exclusively the poor and without legal representation, thereby making the use of death penalty an injustice to the poor.
She noted that the global statistics on death penalty shows that 110 countries in the world have abolished it.
“If death penalty can be abolished, it will greatly serve to improve the administration of criminal justice in the country.
“It is therefore important for society to move away from retributive justice and look towards restorative justice as a rehabilitated criminal today can make meaningful contribution to the society,” Okoroigwe said.
Mr. Okeke called for the strengthening of security in the country as part of the measures towards reducing crime.
He further called on Nigerians and civil society groups to join in addressing the situation of death penalty.
A lawyer and public affair analyst, Mr. Jude Igbanoi in his contribution sought for the adoption of an official moratorium to serve as litmus test before abolishing death penalty.