Amnesty International has revealed that secret executions have taken place in Nigeria’s prisons.
Despite the country’s recent assurances that no one has been executed there “in years”, Amnesty International has uncovered evidence of at least seven executions in the last two years. It is feared that more may have taken place.
All those executed were hanged. They were all convicted in a Kano state court and their death warrants were signed by the current Kano state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau.
Kenneth Ekhone and Auwalu Musa were executed on 30 May 2006, after being convicted by a Robbery and Firearms Tribunal. They did not have lawyers throughout the proceedings, nor were they given an opportunity to appeal against the judgements. Until his death, Auwalu Musa denied he had anything to do with the crime.
On 15 November 2007, a Nigerian government representative at the UN spoke about the death penalty in Nigeria. He stated: “Punishment only comes after exhaustive legal and judicial processes, including recourse to the supreme court of the land… It is thus on record that we have not carried out any capital punishment in recent years in Nigeria.”
Approximately 700 prisoners are estimated to be on death row in Nigeria. More than 200 inmates have been on death row for over ten years, some for over 25 years. Until now, it had been widely assumed that no executions had taken place since 2002.
The Nigerian government has been misleading the international community about the taking of human life. It must now come clean on its death penalty record.
Amnesty International calls for an immediate moratorium on all executions in Nigeria.