CELSIR condemns the call for execution of deathrow inmates to decongest correctional centers

The Centre for Legal Support and Inmate Rehabilitation condemns the call for the execution of death row inmates as a measure to decongest the Correctional Centers across the country. The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, at the official commissioning of the Osun State Command Headquarters of Correctional Office Complex in Osogbo, had charged the State Governors to sign the death warrants of inmates on death row. The Minister while lamenting the overwhelming congestion of the Correctional Centers in the country identified the total population of inmates to be 68,747. He further stated that 50,992 are awaiting trial while 17,755 are convicted inmates out of which 3008 are on death row.

From the given statistics, it is glaring that congestion and overcrowding of correctional centers are due to the high number of awaiting trial inmates which
form 76% of the entire inmate population. CELSIR, therefore, finds it highly disturbing and worrisome that the Honourable Minister has identified the execution
of death row detainees who are just 4% of the total inmate population as a viable means of decongesting the Correctional Centers. We expect that the Honourable
Minister would have painstakingly addressed the overwhelming issue of delay in the dispensation of justice which has contributed to the high percentage of pretrial

In the absence of a just and effective criminal justice system, many of the death row inmates are victims of unfair trials whose convictions are based on torture-tainted evidence with inadequate legal representation. CELSIR vehemently states that executing a death row inmate in the face of such a dysfunctional criminal justice system will culminate into an avalanche of injustice that will be counterproductive. To address the prevalence issue of congestions in the Correctional Centers, CELSIR strongly advises the Government to focus on the speedy dispensation of justice and ensure effective rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates as contained in the Correctional Service Act of 2019.

CELSIR calls on the Government to refrain from signing any death warrant but instead join countries like Malawi and Sierra Leone in adopting an official
moratorium towards the abolishment of the death penalty while also commuting all death sentences to life imprisonment.

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