The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) has condemned the killing of three death row prisoners in Benin City Prison.
The group, in a statement on Wednesday by its national coordinator, Chino Obiagwu, noted that the death warrants of those executed were signed by the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki.
The convicts: Ogbomoro Omoregie, Apostle Igene and Mark Omosowhota were executed on December 23 2016 in Edo State, south-south Nigeria.
They were all convicted and sentenced to death about 20 years ago by military tribunals under the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Decree as amended.
LEDAP noted that in an earlier petition it submitted to the Governor on behalf of the executed prisoners on December 21, 2016, protesting the plan for their execution, the prisoners had pleaded with the Governor to shelve the planned execution, saying there was a pending case at the Court of Appeal brought by all death row prisoners in Nigeria against their execution.
They pointed out that the appeal had not been decided and maintained that it was illegal to carry out the executions.
“LEDAP is appalled that the earliest social duty of Governor Obaseki upon assumption of office was execution of his citizen on death row. We reiterate that all prisoners, including those sentenced to death, retain all the fundamental rights endowed on all citizens by the 1999 Constitution. This was re-emphasised by the Court of Appeal in the case of Peter Nemi vs Attorney General of Lagos State in 1994. The Supreme Court of Nigeria also held in Nasir Bello vs Attorney-General of Oyo State that a prisoner cannot be legally executed while his case is pending in court.
Death Penalty Moratorium
“In so far as an appeal against the sentences of the death row prisoners in Nigeria are pending in court, to the knowledge of the prison authorities and the government who participated in the high court proceedings before the appeal, there is no legal justification for the Edo executions, more so when it was carried out cruelly on a day to the eve of Christmas.
“It is also appalling that Edo State government carried out the execution despite the declaration by Nigerian Government at its 2009 and 2014 Universal Periodic Reports (UPR) to the United Nations Human Rights Council that Nigeria has put in place a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
“The December 23, 2016 execution of these three prisoners, as well as similar execution of four prisoners on June 21 2013 by the same Edo State government have undermined Nigeria’s declarations to the international community for death penalty moratorium,” the group said.
LEDAP has further called on the Federal Government to stop all death penalty executions forthwith.
“The National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly should amend the Criminal Code and Penal Code, as well as the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act to remove death sentence as punishment for crimes and replace it with life imprisonment or term of years’ sentence,” the group proposed.
The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, says the state government is taking advantage of the vast potentials inherent in recycling waste products in the state.
He says the state government has commenced discussion with private investors interested in recycling waste products to come and invest in the state.
Mr Obaseki announced the plan in Benin City, the capital of the state while inspecting the clearing of the garbage dump at the Benin City bypass.
While presenting the Edo 2017 budget proposal Governor Godwin Obaseki left no one in doubt about his commitment to clean environment
This philosophy is aptly demonstrated in the governor’s inspection tour of the dumpsites at the Benin bypass where heavy duty earth moving machines have been deployed to clear the refuse obstructing the access road to the dumpsite.
Waste To Wealth
The Chairman of the Task Force on the Environment, Osarodion Ogie, acknowledged the dire need for reorientation of the people to change their mind set in the area of waste disposal.
“We are going to begin to carry out a lot of public enlightenment which will involve landlords, Odionweres, the palace, traditional institution, civil society, everybody and even the political parties. We want to let our people know that we need to clean our environment,” he said.
The governor promised to take adequate steps to protect ground water in the new dumpsites inspected.
He, however, told reporters that the government was considering recycling.
“We have to open up more landfills, make sure that the new landfills are properly sealed to protect our groundwater. That’s what we plan to do. Open up more landfills, more properly prepared landfills more importantly to now begin to collaborate with people who will make the investments of turning this waste to wealth,” he stated.
he further emphasised that the commitment of cleaning the environment should be a collective endeavor of all residents of Edo state, saying the people must compliment government’s efforts in order to achieve lofty environmental goals.
The former Governor of Edo state, Adams Oshiomhole, has commissioned a network of roads totalling five kilometers, constructed by his administration, in Abudu, the headquarters of Orhionmwon Local Government Area of the state.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Governor explained that he was informed of the poor state of the roads by some youths who insisted he must do something about the decay in their community while accepting their request to name the road after him.
It was the last project he commissioned as Governor of Edo state, as Saturday November 12, 2016 marked the end of Oshiomhole’s eight year reign.
Also as part of some of his final projects, he completed the new Central Hospital in Benin city, a project Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari commended on his recent visit to the state.
In a swift response, INEC National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Solomon Soyebi, told Channels Television in Kaduna that the election was not flawed with irregularities as alleged.
He debunked claims by the PDP that the commission deliberately delayed result of the election from the 18 local government councils in Edo State in order to favour the ruling APC in the state.
The Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State Osagie Ize-Iyamu, in the just concluded Edo State governorship election and leaders of the party have submitted a petition to the Edo State Election Petition Tribunal.
They are challenging the result of the polls.
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Godwin Obaseki was declared winner of the election by the electoral commission.
But Mr Ize-Iyamu, who was flanked by other leaders of the party at the Edo State Election Petition Tribunal premises in Benin City on Wednesday evening, said they decided to challenge the result of the election in keeping with the promise they made to their supporters that they would defend the votes cast for them
Mr Ize-Iyamu and the Chairman of the Party in the State, Mr Dan Orbih, said they were confident that they would be declared winner at the conclusion of the case.
The INEC National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Solomon Soyebi, told Channels Television in Kaduna that the election was not flawed with irregularities as being alleged by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
He debunked claims by the PDP that the commission deliberately delayed result of the election from the 18 Local Government Councils in Edo state in order to favour the ruling APC in the state.
He further explained that INEC deployed an electronic device during the election that tracked the collation of results from the polling units up to the last collation centre, and therefore checkmated any form of rigging.
Expressions Of Dissatisfaction
Some observer groups have picked holes in the governorship election.
One of the groups, Election Monitor, is asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to pay attention to calls for the cancellation of the governorship election in Edo State.
The call is on grounds that widespread public outcry signifies dissatisfaction that should not be ignored.
Presenting the group’s election observation report to a press conference in Abuja on Friday, the National coordinator, Abiodun Ajijola, said the election had a high case level of vote buying and over-voting across the polling stations especially in Esako Local Government Area.
He says such acts give credence to such expressions of dissatisfaction.
Mr Ajijola also noted that while the election could be said to have been conducted effectively with regards to operation and conduct, the group observed unacceptable delay in collation of results which the electoral commission ought to address.
The newly sworn in Governor of Edo state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has appointed former member of the House of representative and verbose speaker, Honourable Patrick Obahiagbon as his Chief of Staff.
The Governor also appointed his former Special Adviser on Policy Monitoring, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, as the Secretary to the State Government.
Mr. Peter Okhiria retained his position as Chief Press Secretary while Princess Theresa Erediauwa also retained her position as the focal person and Executive Director, Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
Comrade Yakubu Aliyu is the Governor’s new Principal Private Secretary while Mr. Godwin Obaseki remains the Chairman of the Economic Team, and the former Chief of Staff, Mr. Osarodion Ogie, is Vice Chairman of the Economic Team.
Mr Stephen Idehenre is the new Deputy Chief of Staff, Governor’s Office; he replaces Mr. John Odigie Ejale.
Swearing-in of the officers will hold on Thursday, November 15 at the Festival Hall, Government House, Benin City.