Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has appealed to the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, not to order the execution of condemned persons that have been sentenced to death in the state.
The Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem, at a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday April 28th, disclosed that Ambode would soon sign the death warrants of the condemned inmates in the state.
Accoding to Kazeem, his he visited the Lagos state prisons recently and discovered that those on death row were acting as though they had certain rights which excluded them from being executed. He revealed that the prison officials complained about this attitude of theirs and called on the Government to act and remedy the situation.
“Lots of people are on death row, Rev. King is not the only one on death row, it is on the instruction of Ambode that I visited the prisons recently and I discuss the issue with the prison officials and they expressed concern. We are moving in that direction of signing. The prison officials said we need to look at that seriously. Those on death row are beginning to think they have some rights. We are going to move in that direction, you will hear from me, but I will not tell you the exact date,” Kazeem said
In a letter sent addressed to the state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, Falana insisted that death by hanging or firing squad violates the rights to freedom from torture. Citing a judgement of the State High Court sometime ago, Falana said
“The Lagos State High Court held that while a person who commits murder may be sentenced to death, it is illegal and unconstitutional to execute such death sentence by hanging or firing squad, as it will lead to the violation of his fundamental right to freedom from torture guaranteed by the constitution”.
He called on Governor Ambode not to sign a death warrant authorising the killing of any condemned prisoner but should rather d commute the death sentences to life imprisonment.
“On the basis of the valid and subsisting judgment of the Lagos High Court on the illegality of the execution of the death penalty in Lagos State, we urge Your Excellency not to sign a death warrant authorising the killing of any condemned prisoner either by hanging, firing squad or any other means whatsoever. In the circumstance, Your Excellency may wish to commute the death sentences of all condemned prisoners in Lagos State to life imprisonment forthwith”his letter read