By Samuel Oyejola
Considering various accounts of lynching and extra-judicial killings that occurred in Nigeria this year, Nigerians have been advised to desist from lynching and mob justice even when the victim is caught red-handed in a crime.
Community of Sant Egidio Nigeria gave this advice on Thursday in Abuja during a press briefing on the call against death penalty, lynching and extra-judicial killings in Nigeria.
According to the group, the act should not be encouraged in the current age as it is barbaric and dehumanizing.
The Country Representative of the organisation, Prince Henry Ezike said during the briefing, “doing evil to obtain good may seem like an appropriate approach and thought, but it is neither fair nor effective.”
Community of Sant Egido, an international organization has been in the forefront for the abolition of death penalty in all countries. At the United Nations, the last vote at the third Committee of the UN concerning the proposal for the universal moratorium on death penalty in 2014 increased from 114 to 117.
While calling on the federal government to abolish death penalty he pointed out that the universal declaration of human rights and other international human rights instruments adopted since 1948 prohibits all forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of which according to him death penalty is major.
While commending the Nigeria for non-record of death penalty in 2017, he observed that various accounts of lynching and extra-judicial killings happened across the country.
Ezike expressed optimism that the conversion of death penalty of three siblings in Rivers state who have been on death row for 25 years to life imprisonment would eventually result in their release as the group is pushing for their release.
“2017 has been an excellent year for Nigeria in the area of state executions. Lagos state wanted to execute but the high tempo from protests of civil society groups ensure that it was not done” he said.
The Country Representative averred that since the risk of judicial errors which cannot be corrected is unlikely to be ruled out in most cases the best alternative to death penalty is abolition.
Ezike also pointed out that Tunisia which has abolished death penalty experience drastic reduction in violent crime. “Countries that abolished death penalty now have a low rate of crime that leads to death. Tunisia is a perfect example. Since they abolished death penalty, the rate of violent crime dropped drastically” he said.