THE Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) has said there are about 3,298 inmates on death row in Nigerian prisons.
NCos public relations officer, Abubakar Umar, said this in an interview with NAN on Wednesday, April 19.
The prisons spokesman blamed the high number of death row inmates on the hesitation of state governors to sign death warrants.
According to him, death sentences are not always carried out due to the governors’ reluctance to sign warrants for execution of condemned prisoners.
“As of today, we have a total of 3,298 inmates on death row. They constitute about 4.5 per cent of the total number of inmates in our various custodial centres nationwide,” he said.
“They are awaiting the hangman’s noose in our custodial centres after being found guilty of capital offences.”
However, Umar further explained that sometimes execution of condemned prisoners is delayed because the concerned cases are still being appealed at higher courts.
“There are often long periods of uncertainty for the convicted prisoners while their cases are being appealed at higher levels.
“Some offenders have not been executed more than 15 years after their convictions.”
He noted that some inmates on death row committed capital offences like culpable homicide, armed robbery and terrorism.
The NCoS spokesman noted that, although they have been condemned, the inmates are given the opportunity to turn a new leaf.
“The good thing is that we engage all of them in activities that will reform and modify their behaviours.
“The goal is to make them better citizens of the nation.
“We also make them undergo personal development programmes like anger management, civic education, as well as entrepreneurship.”
Although the death sentence is legal in Nigeria, executions are a rarity.
While state governments rarely approve the execution of the death penalty, judges continue to pronounce the capital punishment for offences like treason, kidnapping, murder, armed robbery and involvement with militia groups.
The Federal Government has repeatedly called on state governors to exercise their constitutional responsibility of signing death warrants of criminals on death row.
In a report released in 2018, the human rights group, Amnesty International noted that Nigeria has the highest death row population in sub-Saharan Africa.
The group disclosed that between 2007 and 2017, there were seven executions in the country, with the last in 2016.
However, Amnesty International has also called for the abolition of the death sentence in Nigeria.