Death penalty: LASG calls for rethink

THE Lagos State government, on Thursday, said it was time for a rethink and final decision on whether the inclusion of death penalty in the nation’ s constitution should be removed or retained.

The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeola Rahman Ipaye, disclosed this at the monthly ministerial briefing held  in Alausa, adding that the country could not be in a limbo.

“We need to decide once and for all whether we want to use the law or eradicate it, as once it is still part of the constitution, we cannot do anything about it,” he said.

The commissioner added that a committee should be set up to consider whether there was an increase or a  decrease in cases of armed robberies between the time execution of people on death row was stopped and now that the lag period had been broken.

He further called for the setting up of an investigative committee on death sentences with a view to determining whether or not death sentences had served as appropriate deterrents to criminals.

Ipaye added that the result of the investigation would help Nigerians to take a stance  on the  issue once and for all, adding that though state governors had not been performing the constitutional duty of signing the execution warrant, death penalty remains part of our laws.

However, he added that on the president’s advice for them to do so, governors still had the right to exercise their discretion in granting amnesty to the convicts under the prerogative of mercy to grant freedom.

Meanwhile, he debunked reports that minors were being kept in prison across Lagos State on the orders of a state Magistrate Court for 390 days.

He stated that investigations into the matter revealed that the 162 persons arraigned at the Magistrate Court were above 18 years and that both the Magistrate and the Registrar further took the step of asking the prosecutor and the defendants to confirm their age before trial.

The commissioner also reiterated the government’s commitment to prison decongestion, explaining that his ministry and stakeholders had embarked on sustained regular visits to the prison to ensure release of deserving awaiting trial inmates or people illegally remanded.

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