Over 3,000 Inmates On Death Row Across Nigeria – NCoS

3,298 prisoners are currently on death row in Nigeria, according to information released by the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS).

However, the organization’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Abubakar Umar, stated that the term “condemned criminal” has been abolished in a statement made on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said that the term “condemned criminal” was abolished with the passage of the NCoS Act 2019 because it is stigmatizing and turned jails into correctional facilities.

He claimed that the service preferred to refer to inmates on death row (IDR) using a more more welcoming phrase.

He emphasized that executions of death sentences are not usually carried out right away.

“There are often long periods of uncertainty for the convicted while their cases are being appealed at higher levels.

“Inmates awaiting execution live on what we call death row; some offenders have been executed more than 15 years after their convictions.

“They were basically awaiting the hangman’s noose in our custodial centres after being found guilty of capital offences.

“We have quite a number of them; as at today, we have a total of 3,298 inmates on death row. They constitute about 4.5 per cent of the total of number inmates in our various custodial centres nationwide,” he disclosed.

Umar said that some IDRs had been in custody for many years, adding that some had been there since they were arrested up to when they were tried and sentenced.

According to him, many of them committed capital offences like culpable homicide, armed robbery, and terrorism, among others.

“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.

“Some of them, who do well and show some glimpse of hard work, industry and discipline, are recommended for clemency to the relevant authorities,” he said.

The spokesman said that many IDRs had been executed in the past before the proliferation of the activities of human rights groups and organisations.

“Currently, there is somewhat a kind of moratorium on the execution of offenders.

“Before the moratorium on execution of IDRs became widespread, executions of IDRs were being carried out as and at when due.

“But with the rising activities of human rights groups, many governments shy away from signing the death warrants of these offenders.

“Though it is still in practice, it is not common as it used to be. The last execution of IDRs was carried out in 2016 in Edo.

“We encourage state governors, who shy away from signing the death warrants, to commute them into other sanctions.

“This will ensure that the toga of death is removed from them. It will also help us to properly manage them smoothly,” he said