Despite the moratorium on death penalty, which Nigeria signed, the Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has signed the warrant for the execution of three death-row inmates at Oko Prison, outside Benin, Edo State. The death row inmates, who were executed on December 23, 2016 are Ogbomoro Omoregie, Apostle Igene and Mark Omosowhota.
This came as Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, yesterday, granted amnesty to four death-row prison inmates in three South West prisons.
Director of Public Prosecutions and Secretary to Osun State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, Mr Pomade Adeniji, announced the amnesty in a statement in Osogbo.
He said, “Pursuant to the advice and recommendations of the State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, Governor Aregbesola, in exercise of his powers, has granted amnesty to the prison inmates.”
It said the inmates were serving their jail terms at federal prisons in Ilesha, Ibara and Abeokuta as well as the Maximum Security Prison, Kirikiri in Lagos.
Meanwhile, a civil society group, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, LEDAP, has condemned the execution on December 23, of three death row inmates of Oko Prisons, Edo State following the death warrants signed by Governor Obaseki.
The death-row inmates in Benin Prison, were all convicted and sentenced to death about 20 years ago by military tribunals under the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Decree as amended.
In an earlier petition submitted to the governor by the executed prisoners on December 21, 2016 through LEDAP, protesting the plan for their execution, the prisoners had pleaded with the governor to shelve the planned execution because there was a pending case at the Court of Appeal, Lagos brought by all death row prisoners in Nigeria against their execution. The appeal had not been decided and it was therefore, illegal to carry out the executions, Mr Chino Obiagwu, National Coordinator of LEDAP had argued in the earlier petition.
He said they were appalled that the earliest social duty of Governor Obaseki upon assumption of office was execution of his citizens on death row.