The British High Commissioner, Paul T. Arkwright, has supported the position of European Union (EU) Heads of Mission against the death penalty for Nigerian Prisoners on death row.
The commissioner recalled that on 1st February 2017, Lagos State signed a law authorising the death penalty for anyone convicted of kidnapping where the victim dies.
He also regretted that as recently Nigeria witnessed the execution of three prisoners by Edo State government on 23 December 2016.
Arkwright added that “These actions have undermined the progress Nigeria made in upholding the moratorium on the death penalty.
“I fully associate myself with the recent call by EU Heads of Mission for Nigeria to uphold the moratorium on the death penalty that has been in place since 2006.
“We remain open to working with the Nigerian government and civil society to push forward the debate towards the abolition of the death penalty”.
The EU Heads of Mission had condemned the execution of the three prisoners by the Edo government.
In its reaction, the EU underlined the universality of human rights, including the right to life and opposes the death penalty in all circumstances.
EU said: “It is a cruel punishment which fails to act as a deterrent to serious crime, and any miscarriage of justice – which is inevitable in any legal system – is irreversible.
“The EU notes that a de facto moratorium on the death penalty has been in place in Nigeria since 2006, though this moratorium was also broken in 2013 with executions in Edo state”.
The Commission urged Nigerian authorities to uphold the moratorium on the death penalty at a State and Federal level and to take steps to accede to and ratify the second protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights leading ultimately to the abolition of the death penalty.