End The Death Penalty Update

Nigeria’s plan for mass executions: Here’s what you need to know

Rauf Aregbesola, Nigeria’s Minister of the Interior, urged local state governors to address overcrowding in the country’s prisons while the country continues to battle the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. [1]

His suggested approach was twofold. On the one hand, he called on those governors to release some people on compassionate grounds – such as people in prison who are old or terminally ill. But, on the other hand, he also asked governors to consider executing people on death row who have exhausted all their appeals – resulting in possibly thousands of expedited executions.

Aregbesola’s announcement was heavily criticised by local human rights groups. It violates international human rights and the African Union moratorium on executions. [2]

The situation in Nigeria is dire. The authorities should commute death sentences and release vulnerable prisoners instead of considering executions as a viable solution to prison overpopulation.

Thanks to you, Reprieve’s investigators, lawyers and campaigners are fighting to get people off death row around the world. If you can, please chip in to support this vital work.

[1] “Group flays Aregbesola’s call to govs to sign death warrants,” Punch (July 27, 2021).

[2] “136 Resolution Calling on State Parties to Observe a Moratorium on the Death Penalty,” African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (November 24, 2008).