Sterling Law Centre for Advocacy,
21st October 2013
PRESS RELEASE ON THE PASSAGE OF THE EDO STATE KIDNAPPING PROHIBITION LAW BY GOV. ADAMS OSHIOMOLE
Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomole on Friday signed the state’s Kidnapping Prohibition Law as amended into law. The Law as it is, prescribes the death penalty for offenders. The Governor reiterated his determination to execute death penalties, when he stated that “…anyone sentenced and convicted, I would sign the death warrant.”
While it is true and clear that the menace of kidnapping has become a serious cause for concern in the state particularly, and in Nigeria generally, we are also of the view that there are extant laws which are adequate for the punishment for and deterrence from these crimes.
We condemn the adoption of the death penalty in the amended law. We are of the view that capital punishment is an intolerable denial of civil liberties and is inconsistent with the fundamental values of a democratic system.
The death penalty is uncivilized in theory and unfair and inequitable in practice. Again based on survey, it has been observed that capital punishment does not deter violent crimes. The FBI has found that the states in the United States with the death penalty have the highest murder rates.
Similarly, because of corruption, the flaws in our justice system, inadequate legal representation etc., the chances of executing innocent people are so rife that it makes the capital punishment option unattractive. Cases of post mortem declaration of innocence abound all over the world. In the United States, since 1973, about 130 people sentenced to death have been subsequently found to be innocent and released from death row, others are not so lucky. This is an injustice that can never be rectified.
As Governor Oshiomole himself acknowledged while signing the law, ‘we have had enough laws in our statute books that provide for various degrees of punishment for various offences. I think the real challenge is about law enforcement and dealing with the problems of impunity. Laws will be worthless if we do not have the capacity to apprehend, interrogate, prosecute criminals and invoke the full wrath of the law.” (emphasis ours)
We opine that the true chances of reducing kidnapping and other similar crimes can only be realized when the police personnel is increased and better equipped, the judicial system is revamped and we create a better economy with more jobs.
We therefore urge Governor Oshiomole and the Edo state House of Assembly to execute this law with highest care and consider reversing the death penalty option.