EU ADVOCATES FOR THE ABOLITION OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN NIGERIA
June 25, 2013: the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, Catherine Ashton, condemned the execution of four prisoners yesterday in Nigeria, describing it as the â€śmost regrettable setback to Nigeriaâ€™s human rights record.â€ť
â€śI deeply regret the execution of four prisoners yesterday in Edo State, Nigeria,â€ť Ms. Ashton said.
â€śThis represents a break of a 7-year moratorium on the death penalty and is a most regrettable setback to Nigeriaâ€™s human rights record. It goes against the commitment repeatedly made by the Nigerian authorities, most recently at the EU-Nigeria human rights dialogue held in Abuja in March and at the annual Ministerial meeting in Brussels in May 2013, to maintain the de facto moratorium on executions.â€ť
Though the envoy said she recognised the serious nature of the crimes involved, and sympathised with the families and friends of the victims, she said the executions can never be justified and reiterated EUâ€™s long-standing opposition to the use of the death penalty.
Restating the importance of United Nations Resolutions calling for the establishment of a moratorium as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty, the EU envoy urged the Nigerian authorities to refrain from further executions, while reviewing laws authorising state governors to sign execution warrants.
â€śI call on Nigeria to join the strong abolitionist trend which prevails on the African continent. As a first step towards abolition, I strongly encourage Nigeria to amend its legislation in order to end the use of the death penalty as sole sentence for a number of crimes,â€ť she said. (Sources: premiumtimesng.com, 25/06/2013)