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Captial punishment requires some measure of restraint, says Adegboruwa


Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa

Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa

Lagos lawyer and rights activists, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, in this interview with GODWIN DUNIA gives reasons why death penalty laws fail to deter criminals.

Why is death penalty not working?
I think it is being reinforced by the fact of the notion of deterrence and this is very wrong. You realise that despite the fact that people are being killed for armed robbery, murder offence and now they have included terrorism, it has not dissuaded people from committing those crime. Another point that informed the enactment is the fact that our executives at all levels of governance always want to play to the gallery. They want to impress the people (electorates) that they are working, that they are serving their interest by coming up with such laws and it is a misconception on their part that such will deter criminals from committing crimes.

Criminals are not born but made. None of those criminals are born as criminals, but the society gave rise to them. This is what the government has failed to understand at various levels, that the criminals we have out there are products of bad governance and failures of our leaders. Failure to provide basic necessities of life like employment for the teeming youths and that is why majority of those who are in crime today are youths. The government has failed to engage them. Most of the politicians only recruit the youths, arm them and used them to realise their ambitions of getting to one office or the other and after that, they won’t take them along to the various offices to work. What else do you think such active unemployed youth would do than engage in crime?


So, criminals are products of the society made worst by failure of bad governance and such youths are bound to be hardened and undeterred.
It appears governors are not very keen in signing death warrant of those already condemned?
I think there is a committee called the prerogative of mercy, what they do is to review cases to be able to identify ‘cases of unjust convicts that have overspent the prescribed term in prisons and all that. So, they need enough time to review such cases.

Another reason why the governors may not want to be in a hurry to sign the warrant is the fact of  ‘Right of Appeal’ which is guaranteed by the constitution up to the Supreme Court and the Appellate Court cannot refuse to listen to it. According to the constitution, a case can be in the Appeal Court for eight years and ten years in the Supreme Court. This is to avoid a situation of miscarriage of justice, which happened in the case of the late Ken Saro-Wiwa Vs. FGN. So, the governor has to exercise some level of restraints.

In this article:
Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa
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