Home » Australia, France Urge Nigeria to End Death Penalty

Australia, France Urge Nigeria to End Death Penalty

by Adenike Adeodun

Global voices, including Australia, France, and Avocats Sans Frontieres (ASF), are rallying against the death penalty in Nigeria.

According to a report by Arise News, these sentiments echoed strongly in Abuja during the World Day Against Death Penalty commemoration. The timing is particularly right, coming just a day after a Lagos High Court sentenced a policeman, Drambi Vandi, to death for killing lawyer Raheem Bolanle.

Lean Johnston, the charge of affairs of the Australia High Commission in Nigeria, emphasized that Australia has renounced capital punishment since 1967. She passionately argued against the death penalty, deeming it as “state violence against its citizens” and undermining human dignity. Johnston highlighted the lack of evidence suggesting the death penalty deters crime and mentioned the inherent belief that even criminals have the potential for rehabilitation.

Similarly, the French Envoy to Nigeria, Ambassador Emmanuelle Blatmann, voiced strong opposition. She remarked, “Shedding a fellow human’s blood doesn’t correct any crime.” Highlighting the irreversible nature of the penalty, Blatmann drew attention to legal system errors that might lead to the wrongful execution of an innocent.

Angela Uzoma-Iwuchukwu, the Country Director for ASF France Nigeria, shared the same stance. Describing the death penalty as “cruel, inhuman, and degrading,” she urged Nigeria to follow in the footsteps of countries like Ghana, the latest African nation to abolish the death penalty. “This is an opportunity,” she stated, “for Nigeria to reflect on its stance, aiming first at a moratorium and eventually complete abolition.”

All the speakers emphasized the need for reformative justice, suggesting the death penalty directly contradicts such principles.

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