Death penalty for sodomy,[36] kidnapping. Each of the 36 states has its own laws. In the north of the country, Sharia (Islamic law) is used. In Imo State, a bill that provided capital punishment for kidnapping was signed into law.

Nigeria: Kano Sharia Court sentences 9 to death for ‘blasphemy’

An Upper Sharia Court, Rijiyar Lemo, in Kano, has sentenced 9 persons: Abdul-Inyas, Hajiya Mairo and 7 others to death for blasphemy against the Prophet of Islam.
The trial was done in secret, and details of its proceedings are yet to be made public.
Even the name of the judge who conducted the trial is being kept secret.
The court initially said 2 people were convicted but a court official, who simply gave his name as Nasir (he declined to provide his full name) later said 9 people were sentenced.
He declined to provide the names of the 7 others.
The offence, committed in early June, triggered protest in Kano.
The demonstration was however promptly quelled by law enforcement agents. The court where the trial began was burnt down prompting the authorities to assign the case to another court.
A statement by the State Sharia Court of Appeal, signed by a man named Nasiru, said the 9 persons were found guilty under section 110 and section 382b of the Sharia Penal Court law year 2000.
“They are hereby sentenced to death,” the statement read.
The statement acknowledged that some Muslim faithful in Kano threatened violence if the accused were set free.
The court however freed Alkasim Abubakar, Yahya Abubakar, Isa Abubakar, and Abdullahi Abubakar, who were arrested alongside the nine convicted persons.
They were found not guilty by the court.
Already, news of the judgment has sparked jubilation by a section of Kano residents.
Source: Premium Times Nigeria, June 25, 2015



Nigerian rapist to be stoned to death in Kano

April 24, 2014

An Islamic court in northern Nigeria has sentenced a man of 63 to death by stoning for raping a girl of 10 and infecting her with HIV.

Ubale Sa’idu Dotsa admitted raping the girl but said he had incited by the Devil, reports the AP news agency.

His two wives have reportedly died from Aids-related diseases.

Several people have been sentenced to death by stoning in northern Nigeria’s Islamic courts but none have been carried out.

Kano state’s commissioner of justice Maliki Kuliya told the BBC Hausa service that Mr Dotsa has the right to appeal up to the federal Supreme Court, which could take years.

(Source: BBC News)


4 Men Publicly Whipped in Nigeria for Gay Sex Punishable by Death Penalty; Judge Lenient As Men Promised to Change

march 6, 2014

Four men were publicly whipped Thursday in northern Nigeria after being convicted of having gay sex by an Islamic court, according to a human rights activist with the Coalition for the Defense of Sexual Rights Network.

Dorothy Aken’Ova told the Associated Press that the men were sentenced to 15 strokes and the option of a $120 fine or a year’s imprisonment. The men were first detained in a wave of arrests following the country’s January implementation of stricter criminal penalties for homosexuality. Aken’Ova said the men risk further violence in prison if human rights groups don’t come up with money for the fines.

Aken’Ova said the men, all between 20 and 22 years old, were beaten before they confessed. They were later forced to prostate themselves on the floor of a regional court to be whipped.

Homosexuality can carry the death penalty under Shariah law in some northern Nigerian states — typically not enforced — but the judge said he was lenient because the men promised they had changed their ways since the homosexual acts, Aken’Ova told the AP.

(Source: AP)


July 3, 2013: The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, has requested President Goodluck Jonathan to rescind his directive to the 36 States of the Federation of Nigeria asking them to begin execution of prisoners on death row across the country, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) reported.

SERAP said the Commission confirmed the order to it through Commissioner Zainabo Sylvie Kayitesi, Chairperson of the Working Group on Death Penalty, and Mary Maboreke, Secretary of the African Commission.

The Commission is the body charged with overseeing States parties’ compliance with their legal obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to which Nigeria is a State party.

The Commission’s Provisional Order followed a petition filed by SERAP through its Solicitor Femi Falana, who said that “It is absolutely important that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Muhammed Adoke moves swiftly to ensure full and effective compliance with the Provisional Order that has been issued by the Commission.” (Source: Premium Times, 04/07/2013)

Nigeria: “They Almost Executed Him Secretly”

On Tuesday, Ebhos was dragged to the gallows in Benin Prison, Nigeria. He was forced to watch as 4 men were hanged.

He only escaped execution because, at the last moment, the prison authorities realised that his death sentence, imposed by a military tribunal, required a firing squad. It had not been prepared.

The Nigerian furniture maker had been on death row for 17 years, convicted of armed robbery. His son, Solomon, only learned that his father was about to be put to death when he read a local newspaper report that 4 men had been hanged.

“The morning after the four executions I knew that my day was on death row,” he told Amnesty International. “The article said there was still one person at risk of execution and I knew it was him. My two eldest sisters went down to the prison to try and find out what was happening.”

Solomon described his sense of despair at the news that his father may be put to death at any point from now on.

“My 2 eldest sisters went down to the prison to see him to get the full information about what was happening. When they came back they said he was sobbing. My sister said that was the 2nd time she saw my father weeping,” he said.

“They had taken him to the gallows and asked him to write a will and told him that they should pass some of the things he had to me, because I’m the only son. They didn’t call us. They didn’t even ask him if there was anyone they could contact. They almost were going to kill him in secret.”

17 years waiting for death

Ebhodaghe Solomon was barely walking when Thankgod Ebhos, was sent to prison accused of armed robbery in 1988.

Ebhos was eventually tried and sentenced to death by a military tribunal in 1995 – some 7 years after his arrest. At that time, Nigeria was under military rule. Military tribunals at the time denied defendants the right to appeal.

Amnesty International raised serious concerns about the fairness of military tribunals in Nigeria during that period, which lasted until 1999 when Nigeria returned to civilian rule.

Ebhodaghe Solomon remembers when he first visited his father on death row.

“I finally had the opportunity to see my father 4 years ago. I was around 21. I braced myself and I was happy to see him in good health, he was doing well,” Solomon said.

He describes how under a new regime of civilian rule, his father hoped he could appeal against his death sentence.

“When we met, he spoke a lot about the family, about his intentions of working, earning money, going abroad. He loves to play music. He learned how to handle musical instruments in the prison. He also loves to read and learned how to paint in prison. He is a very happy spirited person.”

Ebhodaghe Solomon last saw his father 4 weeks ago.

“Nothing much had changed. He told me that his brothers, my uncles, had been trying to find lawyers to look into the case but every time they did that it would be unsuccessful. Many of the lawyers we had spoken to couldn’t help so all we can do is pray that god would bring him out because my dad has changed completely.”

Surprise executions

There are approximately 1,000 individuals on death row across Nigeria; the country has not executed any prisoners since 2006.

But on 16 June, father’s day, things took a turn for the worse when President Goodluck Jonathan urged state Governors to sign death warrants for death row prisoners – this, in effect, allows federal prison authorities to proceed with executions of inmates on death row in prisons.

A week later the 4 inmates held at Benin Prison were dragged to the gallows and hanged.

All still had appeals pending in their cases. Their execution came only hours after a federal High Court had dismissed a lawsuit against 3 of the execution warrants. Lawyers acting on behalf of the men immediately filed an application for stay of execution. The Edo state Attorney General and the prison authorities ignored the judgement.

“The recent executions were an incredible shock to all of us,” said Lucy Freeman, deputy Africa director at Amnesty International.

“Under Nigerian and international law, executions may not be carried out while any appeals are still pending. By executing the prisoners, Nigeria has demonstrated a gross disregard for the rule of law and respect for the judicial process,” said Ms Freeman.

The relatives of those executed were not informed in advance.

Solomon said his family are distraught, knowing that their father may be executed at any moment.

“I would ask the President why he has decided that my father should have his life taken,” he said.

Amnesty International is calling for an immediate halt on the execution of Thankgod Ebhos and an end to the death penalty in Nigeria.

Source: All Africa News, June 29, 2013

Amnesty: Nigeria to Execute 5th Death Row Inmate

Nigeria is preparing to execute a man who was dragged to the gallows and watched four fellow death-row inmates being hanged earlier this week, Amnesty International and Nigerian human rights lawyers said Wednesday.

Thankgod Ebhos won a brief respite because his sentence by a military tribunal called for him to be shot by a firing squad.

“Cruel and inhumane do not even begin to describe the nightmare situation facing this man,” said Lucy Freeman, deputy Africa director of London-based Amnesty International.

She said it indicates “the spectacularly brutal nature of Nigeria’s sudden return to state-sponsored killing.”

Nigeria has not carried out the death sentence since 2006 under a self-imposed moratorium.

This week’s hangings come two weeks after President Goodluck Jonathan urged state governors to sign death warrants because it was the law.

“Even governors sometimes find it difficult to sign,” he said in a Father’s Day speech. But, he added, “The works we are doing have a very sweet part and a very ugly part and we must perform both. No matter how painful it is, it is part of their responsibilities.”

A presidential spokesman, Doyin Okupe, did not respond to calls and messages asking why Jonathan made the statement. It comes as Nigeria confronts the deadliest threat in years to its security, from an Islamist insurgency and holds a sixth of the country in the northeast under a state of emergency and military crackdown.

European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton on Wednesday called for governors not to sign death warrants, and for authorities to refrain from further executions.

She said the hangings counter commitments by Nigerian authorities, most recently at an EU-Nigeria human rights dialogue in March, to maintain the moratorium on executions.

On Monday, Governor Adams Oshiomole of southern Edo state signed two death warrants and other governors signed warrants for three other prisoners. Within hours, all four were hanged at the state capital’s Benin City Prison, Edo state Attorney General Osagie Obayuwana has confirmed, adding that they had exhausted all their appeals.

But there are numerous appeals pending before the Supreme Court, including one filed hours before the executions, making the hangings a violation of Nigeria’s own laws, said human rights lawyer Chino Obiagwu of the Legal Defense and Assistant Project.

All five men had been on death row for at least 16 years under sentences issued by courts when Nigeria was under a military dictatorship notorious for its unfair trials and for torturing prisoners to sign confessions, said Angela Uwandu, Nigeria director for the French group Lawyers Without Borders, or Avocats Sans Frontieres.

She told The Associated Press that police and security forces continue to use torture to extract confessions, causing serious pain, psychological trauma and physical deformity.

In addition, she said judges hands are tied because capital punishment is mandatory for murder and armed robbery.

She also charged the country has a flawed and sometimes corrupt justice system that disproportionately targets the poor.

“When you have a situation where the only ones in prison and the only ones on death row are those who do not have the means to employ the services of a lawyer of their choice, that for me is a huge problem,” she said.

Nigeria had not executed anyone since 2006, though many have been sentenced to death. In fact, few people have been executed since democratically elected governments in 1999 took over from harsh military dictatorships, in part because governors are reluctant to sign death warrants, Uwandu said.

It’s not known how many thousands of convicted criminals and others were executed by firing squad under the military.

Nigerian security forces still are accused of hundreds of extrajudicial killings, charges the military denies.

Nigeria had 1,039 people on death row by Jan. 31 this year, according to the latest figures from the prison administration. On that date, there were 50,900 inmates of whom 46,800 were awaiting trial, some of them for years. Trials themselves can last seven years because of numerous adjournments, according to Uwandu.

Some of those hanged Monday had been in jail for 20 years and more, Obiagwu said.

Those hanged are: Richard Igagu, 49, arrested in 1991 and sentenced in 1995; Chima Ijiofor, 43, arrested in 1994 and sentenced in 1998; Osarenmwinda Aiguokhian, 49, arrested in 1993 and sentenced in 1996; Daniel Nsofor would have been just 18 years old when he was arrested in 1992. He was convicted two years later.

Calls and messages to Edo state officials went unanswered Wednesday, so it was impossible to get any information about the possible fate of the fifth man, Thankgod Ebhos.


Associated Press Writer Bashir Adigun contributed to this report from Abuja, Nigeria.

Nigera – Executions

June 25, 2013
Nigeria hangs 4 prisoners in 1st executions since 2006

Nigerian authorities on Monday hanged 4 prisoners, an official said, in what was believed to be the country’s 1st known executions since 2006, drawing outrage from rights activists.

The justice commissioner in Edo state in southern Nigeria confirmed the hanging of the 4 prisoners, who had been convicted of either armed robbery or murder, he said.

According to the commissioner, all their appeals had been exhausted and their death warrants were signed.

“The court gave the judgement this afternoon that the execution could go ahead and the prison authority went ahead,” Henry Idahagbon told AFP.

He added that the executions were carried out by the prison service, a federal agency, and not the state government.

However, he said he was informed by prison authorities of the executions. Edo state Governor Adams Oshiomhole signed two of the death warrants since the crimes occurred in Edo, said Idahagbon, as required by law.

Governors from elsewhere signed the 2 other death warrants, he said. Since the prison system is federal, prisoners can be moved elsewhere in the country.

A 5th prisoner is also due to be executed, but his sentence dated back to the military era that ended in 1999 and called for him to be killed by firing squad, which prison authorities were not yet prepared to do, he said.

Nigeria has faced international scrutiny over its death penalty, with concerns over whether suspects receive a fair trial in a country where corruption is widespread.

While they would mark the 1st official, known executions since 2006, Nigerian security forces have been repeatedly accused of extra-judicial killings during that time period.

Amnesty International said in a statement that it had received “credible reports that authorities in the state of Edo … have hanged four men in Benin City Prison on Monday — the first known executions in the country since 2006.”

“If confirmed, these executions mark a sudden, brutal return to the use of the death penalty in Nigeria, a truly dark day for human rights in the country,” Amnesty deputy director for Africa, Lucy Freeman, said in the statement

The human rights organisation urged Nigerian authorities to stop all executions immediately and “return to the moratorium on executions in the country.”

“We oppose the death penalty in all cases without exception, as it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment,” it said.

President Goodluck Jonathan recently called on state governors to sign death warrants, saying it was their responsibility under the law, according to local media reports.

According to Amnesty, around 1,000 people are thought to be on death row in Africa’s largest oil producer and most populous nation.

Source: Agence France-Presse, June 25, 2013