Death Penalty Database

Nigeria

Information current as of: June 19, 2014

General

Official Country Name

Federal Republic of Nigeria (Nigeria). [1]

Geographical Region

Africa (Western Africa). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Retentionist. [3] Nigeria last executed three individuals in 2016. [4]

Methods of Execution

Beheading.
A person sentenced to death by a Shariah court in the Northern Region for certain types of offenses may be executed by beheading. [5]

Hanging.
Hanging is the most frequently applicable method of execution. Capital sentences passed under federal criminal legislation lead to execution by hanging. [6] Under Shariah law (applied in some northern Nigerian states), executions may be carried out by hanging for certain types of offenses. [7] In Lagos state, however, execution by hanging may be unconstitutional since a 2012 decision by the High Court of Lagos. [8]

Lethal Injection.
Since 2015, lethal injection is a permitted method of execution pursuant to the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. [9] Nigeria had not executed any prisoner by lethal injection as of April 2019. [10]

Shooting.
Under the Federal Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, applicable in all states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, death sentences can be carried out by firing squad, if so decided by the governor. [11] Under Shariah law, applied in some northern Nigerian states, executions can be carried out by firing squad for certain types of offenses. [12] In Lagos state, however, execution by firing squad may be unconstitutional since a 2012 decision by the High Court of Lagos. [13]

Stoning.
Stoning (rajm) is a Shariah punishment applied in some northern Nigerian states and reserved for Muslims. [14] The punishment applies for zina (adultery), [15] rape (if the offender is married), [16] incest (if the offender is married), [17] and homosexual sodomy. [18]

Other.
Under Shariah law, crucifixion (salb) is used to punish hirabah—the act of terrorizing people for the purpose of robbery [19] —resulting in death and when property is seized. [20] Nigerian states differ on what is meant by “crucifixion.” [21]

References

[1] BBC, Country Profiles: Nigeria, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13949550, Feb. 18, 2019.
[2] U.N. Statistics Division, Standard country or area codes for statistical use (M49), https://unstats.un.org/unsd/methodology/m49/, last accessed Jul. 6, 2018.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2018, p. 43, ACT 50/9870/2019, Apr. 10, 2019.
[4] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2016, p. 36, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[5] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Criminal Procedure Code Annotated, sec. 241(a), Oct. 2005.
[6] Administration of Criminal Justice Act of Nigeria, 2015, sec. 402(1), May 13, 2015. Under the Federal Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, applicable in all states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, death sentences can be carried out by hanging, if so decided by the governor. Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, sec. 1(3), Mar. 29, 1984, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. R11, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[7] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, p. 52 n. 67, Mar. 2002.
[8] In 2012, the High Court of Lagos declared that execution by hanging or firing squad is unconstitutional as it violates the prisoner’s rights to dignity of the human person and to be free from torture and inhumane or degrading treatment under Section 34(1)(a) of the Constitution. The ruling is only enforceable in Lagos state. Ajulu v. Attorney General of Lagos State, Suit No. ID/76M/2008, High Ct. of Lagos State, Jun. 29, 2012.
[9] Administration of Criminal Justice Act of Nigeria, 2015, sec. 402(1), May 13, 2015.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2015, p. 60, ACT 50/3487/2016, Apr. 6, 2016. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2016, p. 5, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2017, p. 6, ACT 50/7955/2018, Apr. 12, 2018. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2018, p. 43, ACT 50/9870/2019, Apr. 10, 2019. DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[11] Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, sec. 1(3), Mar. 29, 1984, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. R11, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[12] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, p. 52 n. 67, Mar. 2002.
[13] The High Court of Lagos held that execution by firing squad is unconstitutional as it violates the prisoner’s rights to dignity of the human person and to be free from torture and inhumane or degrading treatment under Section 34(1)(a) of the Constitution. This ruling applies only within Lagos state. Ajulu v. Attorney General of Lagos State, Suit No. ID/76M/2008, High Ct. of Lagos State, Jun. 29, 2012.
[14] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, ch. I, sec. 44, Mar. 2002.
[15] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, ch. VIII, sec. 126, Mar. 2002.
[16] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, ch. VIII, sec. 128(b), Mar. 2002.
[17] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, ch. VIII, sec. 132(b), Mar. 2002.
[18] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, ch. VIII, sec. 130, Mar. 2002.
[19] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, ch. VIII, sec. 151, Mar. 2002. Nik Rahim Nik Wajis, The Crime of Hirabah in Islamic Law, p. 63, Glasgow Caledonian University, Jan. 1996.
[20] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, ch. VIII, sec. 152(d), Mar. 2002.
[21] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, ch. VIII, sec. 152(d), Mar. 2002.

Country Details

Language(s)

English (official), Yoruba, Ibo, Hausa. [1]

Population

186 million (2018 estimate). [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

By the end of 2018, there were more than 2,000 people on death row in Nigeria, including at least 46 people sentenced to death that year. [3] Nigeria had the highest number of people on death row in the region by the end of 2018. [4]

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2019 to date (last updated on May 15, 2019)

0. [5]

Executions in 2018

0. [6]

Executions in 2017

0. [7]

Executions in 2016

3. [8]

Executions in 2015

0. [9]

Executions in 2014

0. [10]

Executions in 2013

4. [11]

Executions in 2012

0. [12]

Executions in 2011

0. [13]

Executions in 2010

0. [14]

Executions in 2009

0. [15]

Executions in 2008

0. [16]

Executions in 2007

0. [17]

Year of Last Known Execution

In 2016, Nigeria executed three individuals who had been sentenced to death for armed robbery by military tribunals. [18] The executions were carried out in Benin Prison in Edo State. [19] Nigeria had not previously carried out an execution since 2013, when it executed four prisoners for armed robbery, who reportedly still had appeals pending. [20] Likewise, the men executed in 2016 reportedly had appeals outstanding, and may therefore have been executed in violation of Nigerian and international law. [21]

References

[1] BBC, Country Profiles: Nigeria, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13949550, Feb. 18, 2019.
[2] BBC, Country Profiles: Nigeria, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13949550, Feb. 18, 2019.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2018, p. 43, ACT 50/9870/2019, Apr. 10, 2019.
[4] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2018, p. 43, ACT 50/9870/2019, Apr. 10, 2019.
[5] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[6] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2018, p. 43, ACT 50/9870/2019, Apr. 10, 2019.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2017, p. 34, ACT 50/7955/2018, Apr. 12, 2018.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2016, p. 36, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2015, p. 60, ACT 50/3487/2016, Apr. 6, 2016
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, p. 59, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 45, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, p. 43, ACT 50/001/2013, Apr. 10, 2013.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, p. 50, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 41, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 8, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[17] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2016, p. 36, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017. Innocent Anaba, Edo executes 3, as Aregbesola grants amnesty to 4 death-row inmates, Vanguard, https://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/12/edo-executes-3-aregbesola-grants-amnesty-4-death-row-inmates/, Dec. 29, 2016.
[19] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2016, p. 38, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[20] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 45, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014. Amnesty Intl., Nigeria executions: “They almost executed him secretly”, https://www.amnesty.org/en/news/nigeria-death-penalty-feature-2013-06-28, Jun. 28, 2013.
[21] Chino Obiagwu, LEDAP condemns the killing of three death row prisoners in Nigeria, http://www.worldcoalition.org/LEDAP-condemns-the-killing-of-three-death-row-prisoners-in-Nigeria.html, Dec. 28, 2016.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Aggravated Murder.
A conviction of murder carries the mandatory death penalty. [1] The Criminal Code Act, applicable in the southern states of Nigeria except Lagos, does not distinguish between murder and aggravated murder. [2]

Under Shariah law, applicable in the northern states, intentional killing during robbery (hirabah) or after secluding a person to rob him (gheelah) carries the mandatory death penalty. [3]

Murder.
Under the Criminal Code Act, a conviction of murder carries the mandatory death penalty. [4]

In the northern states applying Shariah law, simple murder carries the retributive (qisas) sentence of death, which applies in every case unless the victim’s family grants the convicted person a pardon. [5]

A person convicted of murder by a court martial is liable to receive a death sentence. [6]

Other Offenses Resulting in Death.
Under the Criminal Code Act, killing someone unintentionally while committing another unlawful act is deemed murder and carries the mandatory death penalty. [7] It is immaterial that the offender did not intend to hurt any person. [8] Further, a person who presides over a trial by ordeal [9] that results in death is liable to receive the death penalty. [10]

In states applying Shariah law, an act of terrorizing people for the purpose of robbery (hirabah) is punished with mandatory death penalty when resulting in death. [11] House trespassing resulting in death is punished with a retributive death sentence (qisas). [12] Perjury or fabrication resulting in the execution of an innocent defendant carries a retributive sentence of death (qisas). [13] Committing any act of witchcraft or juju [14] that results in death carries the mandatory death penalty. [15] Causing the death of an accused witch through trial by ordeal carries a retributive death penalty (qisas). [16] A retributive death penalty (qisas) applies by law, unless the victim’s family grants the condemned person a pardon. [17] Further, under Shariah law, assisting in the suicide of a person legally unable to consent may be punished by death. [18]

Abetting a person to commit intentional or unintentional homicide may carry a death sentence. [19]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
A person inside or outside Nigeria who knowingly commits, attempts, assists, or is an accessory to any act of terrorism resulting in death is liable to be sentenced to death. [20]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
A person inside or outside Nigeria who knowingly commits, attempts, assists, or is an accessory to any act of terrorism is liable to be sentenced to death, even where the act does not result in death. [21]

Rape Not Resulting in Death.
In states applying Shariah law, rape committed by a married person carries the death penalty by stoning. [22]

Robbery Not Resulting in Death.
Under federal law, armed robbery or robbery resulting in harm to a victim carries the mandatory death penalty. [23] A person convicted of armed robbery or robbery resulting in harm is liable to be sentenced to death by hanging or firing squad. [24] Armed robbery or robbery resulting in harm is also punishable with the mandatory death penalty in Lagos state. [25]

Kidnapping Not Resulting in Death.
According to collated news sources, kidnapping is a capital offense in at least 14 Nigerian states. In 2009, kidnapping was made a capital offence in six states—Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo. [26] In 2013, Edo and Bayelsa followed suit. [27] Two more states, Cross River and Kogi, enacted laws in 2015 prescribing death penalty for kidnapping. [28] In 2016, Oyo State enacted a law prescribing a death sentence or life imprisonment for kidnapping. [29] Benue and Bauchi states made kidnapping a capital offense in 2017, [30] followed by Rivers State in 2018. [31] We were unable to confirm whether death is a component of the offense in some states.

Adultery.
In states applying Shariah law, a married person who commits adultery shall receive a mandatory death sentence. [32]

Apostasy.
In states applying Shariah law, blasphemy against Islam carries the mandatory death penalty. [33]

Consensual Sexual Relations Between Adults of Same Sex.
In states applying Shariah law, homosexual sodomy carries the mandatory death sentence. [34]

Treason.
Under federal law, treason, conspiring to wage war against Nigeria, and treachery [35] may be punishable by death. [36] Both Nigerians and non-Nigerians may be convicted of treason. [37]

In northern states, treason carries the mandatory death penalty. [38]

Military Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Aiding or communicating with the enemy, cowardly behavior, mutiny, malingering, [39] armed robbery, and treason are crimes punishable by death on conviction by a court-martial. [40]

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
In states applying Shariah law, incest committed by a married person carries the mandatory death penalty by stoning. [41]

In states applying Shariah law, the practice of some religions may be considered juju [42] or witchcraft and punished by a mandatory death sentence. [43] Cannibalism and retaining human blood or remains as a trophy or for the purpose of juju [44] are also punished by a mandatory death sentence. [45]

Comments.
Nigeria operates under a federal system with 36 states and a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, which is the capital of the federation and seat of the federal government. While there are some federal criminal laws—such as the 1984 Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act—most criminal offenses fall under state jurisdiction. The 1916 Criminal Code Act applies to the states in the south except Lagos state, while the 1960 Penal Code (Northern States) Federal Provisions Act applies to the Northern Region. In addition, the 36 states and the FCT-Abuja have their own laws, which define individual crimes and punishments within the territory of the state. The National Assembly of Nigeria, situated in Abuja, has exclusive legislative powers over the FCT. [46] Twelve northern states have incorporated Shariah law into their penal laws. [47] According to in-country experts, state-level amendments to state criminal laws can greatly affect the application of the death penalty. [48]

We did not have access to the complete criminal legislation for all 36 states. We consulted the Criminal Code Act (effective in southern states except Lagos), the Penal Code (Northern States) Federal Provisions Act, the Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated (compiling the Shariah law of the northern states with the Penal Code applicable in the northern states), the Armed Forces Act, the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, and the Terrorism (Prevention) Act. [49] The Harmonised Sharia Penal Code we referred to is an informative secondary compilation of annotated Shariah offenses rather than a collection of the original statutes, which we could not obtain. For the purposes of this research, we included any offense which is death-eligible in at least one state.

Shariah rules of procedure establish that circumstantial evidence is prohibited and the conviction must be based on the testimony of four male witnesses or a confession. [50] We were unable to confirm whether the 12 states applying Shariah law enforce the evidentiary standards required by law.

As of July 2018, Nigeria’s House of Representatives was considering a bill to enact the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act of 2018, which would repeal the Terrorism Prevention Act of 2011 as amended by the Terrorism (Prevention)(Amendment) Act of Nigeria, 2013. [51] The bill prescribes the death penalty for at least five terrorism-related offenses. [52]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

Yes. Nigerian federal law prescribes the mandatory death penalty for a wide range of offenses. [53]

Shariah laws prescribe both mandatory death penalty and retributive sentences of death (qisas). Conviction for a retributive offense does not allow courts to exercise discretion and hand down individualized sentences but unless a payment of blood money is made to a victim’s relatives or forgiveness is extended. [54]

For Which Offenses, If Any, Is a Mandatory Death Sentence Imposed?

Aggravated Murder.
A conviction of murder carries the mandatory death penalty. [55] The Criminal Code Act, applicable in the southern states of Nigeria except Lagos, does not distinguish between murder and aggravated murder. [56]

Under Shariah law, applicable in the northern states, intentional killing during robbery (hirabah) or after secluding a person to rob him (gheelah) carries the mandatory death penalty. [57]

Murder.
Under the Criminal Code Act, a conviction of murder carries the mandatory death penalty. [58]

In states applying Shariah law, simple murder carries the retributive (qisas) sentence of death, which applies in every case unless the victim’s family grants the condemned a pardon. [59] A person who induces a person to commit a murder is liable for that agent’s offense. [60]

A person convicted of murder by a court martial is liable to receive a death sentence. [61] Based on the language of the statute, it is unclear whether the death sentence is mandatory and we have been unable to confirm.

Other Offenses Resulting in Death.
Under the Criminal Code Act, killing someone unintentionally while committing another unlawful act is deemed murder and carries the mandatory death penalty. [62] It is immaterial that the offender did not intend to hurt any person. [63]

Further, a person who presides over a trial by ordeal [64] that results in death is liable to receive the death penalty. [65] Based on the language of the statute, it is unclear whether the death sentence is mandatory and we have been unable to confirm.

In states applying Shariah law, an act of terrorizing people for the purpose of robbery or other purposes (hirabah) is punished with mandatory death penalty when resulting in death. [66] House trespassing resulting in death is punished with a retributive death sentence (qisas). [67] Perjury or fabrication resulting in the execution of an innocent defendant carries a retributive sentence of death (qisas). [68] Committing any act of witchcraft or juju [69] that results in death carries the mandatory death penalty. [70] Causing the death of an accused witch through trial by ordeal carries a retributive death penalty (qisas). [71] A retributive death penalty (qisas) applies to any person convicted of intentional homicide, unless the victim’s family grants the condemned a pardon. [72]

Rape Not Resulting in Death.
In states applying Shariah law, rape committed by a married person carries the mandatory death penalty by stoning. [73]

Robbery Not Resulting in Death.
Under the Criminal Code Act, armed robbery or robbery resulting in harm to a victim carries the mandatory death penalty. [74] Under the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, a person convicted of armed robbery or robbery resulting in harm is liable to be sentenced to death penalty by hanging or firing squad. [75] Based on the language of the statute, it is unclear whether the death sentence is mandatory and we have been unable to confirm.

Armed robbery or robbery resulting in harm is also punishable with the mandatory death penalty pursuant to the Criminal Law of Lagos State of 2011. [76]

Adultery.
In states applying Shariah law, a married person who commits adultery shall receive a mandatory death sentence by stoning. [77]

Apostasy.
In states applying Shariah law, blasphemy to the Prophet or Islam carries the mandatory death penalty. [78]

Consensual Sexual Relations Between Adults of Same Sex.
In states applying Shariah law, homosexual sodomy carries the mandatory death sentence by stoning. [79]

Treason.
Under federal law, treason, conspiring to wage war against Nigeria, and treachery [80] may be punishable by death. [81] Both Nigerians and non-Nigerians can be convicted of treason. [82] Based on the language of the statute, it is unclear whether the death sentence is mandatory and we have been unable to confirm.

Under the Penal Code (Northern States) Federal Provision Act, treason carries the mandatory death penalty. [83]

Military Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
A person convicted by a court-martial for mutiny, armed robbery, or treason is liable to the punishment of death. [84] Based on the language of the statute, it is unclear whether the death sentence is mandatory and we have been unable to confirm.

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
In states applying Shariah law, incest committed by a married person carries the mandatory death sentence by stoning. [85] In states applying Shariah law, the practice of some religions may be considered juju [86] or witchcraft and punished by a mandatory death sentence. [87] Cannibalism and retaining human blood or remains as a trophy or for the purpose of juju [88] are also punished by mandatory death sentence. [89]

Comments.
The retributive sentence of death (qisas) is a penalty that excludes the possibility of judicial discretion unless a payment of blood money is made to a victim’s relatives or forgiveness is gratuitously extended. [90] We consider this to be a mandatory death penalty because an extrajudicial determination controls whether discretion may be exercised.

Other offenses in Nigeria carry the mandatory death penalty because they either explicitly exclude discretion under any circumstances (as is the case for hadd punishments) or demand application of the death penalty without providing for alternative punishments. [91]

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

Murder.
The four prisoners executed in 2013 were convicted of either armed robbery or murder. [92]

Robbery Not Resulting in Death.
The four prisoners executed in 2013 were convicted of either armed robbery or murder. [93] We were unable to find information on whether the robbery offenses resulted in the death of a victim.

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
The federal Child Act defines juveniles as a child under the age of 18 and prohibits sentencing juveniles to capital punishment. [94] This Act, however, is only enforceable in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja and in states which have explicitly enacted it. [95] As of March 2013, thirteen states out of thirty-six had yet to enact the Children’s Rights Act. [96] Furthermore, two northern states modified the definition of a child to individuals aged 16 or 17 and under. [97] In the states which did not adopt the Child Act, the governing law is the older Child and Young Persons Act which provides that children who are 17 years and older can be punished as adults. [98] Under the Criminal Code Act applicable in southern states with the exception of Lagos, and under the Criminal Procedure Act applicable in federal courts throughout Nigeria, juveniles over the age of 17 can be subject to the death penalty. [99] Furthermore, under Shariah law applicable in at least 12 states, [100] juveniles who committed offenses after reaching puberty or the “age of responsibility” can be executed. [101]

As a party to the ICCPR, [102] the Convention on the Rights of the Child, [103] and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, [104] Nigeria is under an international obligation to exclude juveniles from capital punishment.

As of 2010, 40 death row inmates were thought to be under the age of 18 at the time of their offenses. [105] We were not able to find more recent figures.

In June 2014, the ECOWAS Court of Justice issued a judgment holding that the death sentence of Maimuna Abdulmumini, who was convicted of murdering her husband at the age of 13, was a violation of the ICCPR’s prohibition on applying capital punishment to minors. The court awarded Abdulmumini trial costs and damages. [106] In March 2014, Justice Minister Bello Adoke had announced that the federal government would not carry out her execution in accordance with the ECOWAS court’s interim decisions. [107] The ECOWAS judgment thus has the potential to change Nigeria’s practice with regard to sentencing juveniles to death.

Pregnant Women.
According to article 368(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act, applicable in federal courts throughout Nigeria, pregnant women cannot be sentenced to death and their sentences should be commuted to life imprisonment instead. Section 300(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, applicable in state courts in the northern states and the Federal Capital Territory, also includes a similar provision. [108] Reportedly, Shariah penal laws in some states in Nigeria authorize the imposition of death penalties on pregnant women. [109] The practices in these states seems to be out of line with observations of Shariah law outside of Nigeria, which generally does not condone the execution of pregnant women. [110]

As a party to the ICCPR, [111] and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, [112] Nigeria is under an international obligation to exclude pregnant women from capital punishment.

Mentally Ill.
The Criminal Code Act, applicable in southern states with the exception of Lagos, stipulates that an individual is excluded from criminal liability if at the time of the crime he or she is in “such a state of mental disease … as to deprive him of capacity to understand what he is doing, or of capacity to control his actions, or of capacity to know not do the act.” [113] Those who are deluded can be criminally responsible as long as their delusions aren’t related to the crime for which they are convicted. [114]

Individuals may be found incompetent to stand trial. [115] An in-country expert corroborates that mental illness is, in practice, grounds for acquittal. [116]

We found no laws, however, prohibiting the execution of prisoners who are mentally ill at the time the death sentence is to be carried out.

Intellectually Disabled.
The Criminal Code Act, applicable in southern states with the exception of Lagos, stipulates that an individual is excluded from criminal liability if at the time of the crime he or she is in “such a state of … natural mental infirmity as to deprive him of capacity to understand what he is doing, or of capacity to control his actions, or of capacity to know not do the act.” [117] Those who are deluded can be criminally responsible as long as their delusions aren’t related to the crime for which they are convicted. [118]

We found no laws, however, expressly prohibiting the execution of prisoners who are intellectually disabled at the time of their sentencing or at the time the death sentence is to be carried out.

Comments.
Nigeria has ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, [119] which excludes pregnant women and nursing women from the application of the death penalty.

References

[1] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 319, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[2] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 316, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[3] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, secs. 50, 152(c)(d), 199, Mar. 2002.
[4] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 319, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[5] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 199, Mar. 2002.
[6] Armed Forces Act of Nigeria, sec. 106, Jul. 6, 1994, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. A20, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[7] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, secs. 316, 319, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[8] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 316, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[9] Section 207 of the Criminal Code of Nigeria states, “[t]he trial by the ordeal of sasswood, esere-bean, or other poison, boiling oil, fire, immersion in water or exposure to the attacks of crocodiles or other wild animals, or by any ordeal which is likely to result in the death of or bodily injury to any party to the proceeding is unlawful.” Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 207, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[10] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 208, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[11] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, ch. VIII, sec. 152(c)(d), Mar. 2002.
[12] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, ch. VIII, sec. 193(a), Mar. 2002.
[13] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 330(2), Mar. 2002.
[14] "Juju" includes the worship or invocation of any object or being other than Allah. Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 408, Mar. 2002.
[15] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 411, Mar. 2002.
[16] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 407, Mar. 2002.
[17] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 199, Mar. 2002.
[18] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 205(a), Mar. 2002.
[19] Under Shariah law, a person who abets another person to commit murder shall be sentenced to death if: (a) he or she knew of the likely consequences of the act of the person he or she abetted, and (b) the execution of the act would not have been possible without his or her abetment. Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 205(b), Mar. 2002.
[20] Terrorism (Prevention) Act of Nigeria, 2011, sec. 4(2), Act. No. 10 of 2011, Jun. 2, 2011, as amended by Terrorism (Prevention)(Amendment) Act of Nigeria, 2013, sec. 2(c), Feb. 21, 2013.
[21] Terrorism (Prevention) Act of Nigeria, 2011, sec. 4(2), Act. No. 10 of 2011, Jun. 2, 2011, as amended by Terrorism (Prevention)(Amendment) Act of Nigeria, 2013, sec. 2(c), Feb. 21, 2013.
[22] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 128 (b), Mar. 2002. Zamfara State Shari’ah Penal Code, sec. 129(b), Jan. 2000.
[23] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 402, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[24] Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, sec. 1(2)(3), Mar. 29, 1984, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. R11, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[25] Criminal Law of Lagos State, sec. 295(2), Aug. 19, 2011.
[26] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 23, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[27] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 45, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[28] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2015, pp. 60–61, ACT 50/3487/2016, Apr. 6, 2016. Kogi Reports, Kogi Approves Death Penalty For Kidnappers, Accomplices, http://kogireports.com/kogi-approves-death-penalty-for-kidnappers-accomplices/, Jul. 11, 2015.
[29] Ola Ajavi, Kidnapping now attracts death penalty in Oyo, Vanguard, https://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/04/kidnapping-now-attracts-death-penalty-oyo/, Apr. 13, 2016.
[30] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2017, p. 37, ACT 50/7955/2018, Apr. 12, 2018.
[31] First Post Nigeria, Death Penalty For Cultists And Kidnappers In Rivers As Wike Signs 3 Bills Into Law, https://firstpost.ng/death-penalty-cultists-kidnappers-rivers-state-wike-signs-3-bills-law/, Mar. 15, 2018.
[32] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 126 (b), Mar. 2002. Zamfara State Shari’a Penal Code, sec. 126, Jan. 2000.
[33] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, secs. 406, 408–409, p. 133 n. 627, p. 134 n. 637, Mar. 2002.
[34] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 130, Mar. 2002. Zamfara State Shari’a Penal Code, sec. 130, Jan. 2000.
[35] The Criminal Code Act of Nigeria defines treachery as follows: “If, with intent to help the enemy in any war in which Nigeria may be engaged, any person does, or attempts to do, any act which is designed or likely to give assistance to the naval, military or air operations of the enemy, to impede such operations of the armed forces of Nigeria, or to endanger life, he shall be guilty of felony [treachery] and shall on conviction suffer death.” Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 49A, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[36] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, secs. 37–38, 49A, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[37] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, secs. 37(2), Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[38] Penal Code (Northern States) Federal Provisions Act, secs. 410–411, Sep. 30, 1960, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. P3, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[39] The Armed Forces Act of Nigeria defines malingering as follows: “A person subject to service law under this Act who (a) falsely pretends to be suffering from sickness or disability; or (b) injures himself with intent thereby to render himself unfit for duty, or causes himself to be injured by any other person with that intent; or (c) injures any other person subject to service law under this Act at the instance of that person with intent thereby to render that person unfit for duty; or (d) with intent to render or keep himself unfit for service, does or fails to do anything (whether at the time of the act or omission he is in hospital or not) whereby he produces, prolongs or aggravates, any sickness or disability, is guilty of malingering.” Armed Forces Act of Nigeria, sec. 63, Jul. 6, 1994, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), A20, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[40] Armed Forces Act of Nigeria, secs. 45, 46, 47, 52, 63, 107, 114, Jul. 6, 1994, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. A20, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[41] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 132(b), Mar. 2002.
[42] "Juju" includes the worship or invocation of any object or being other than Allah. Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 408, Mar. 2002.
[43] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, secs. 408–409, Mar. 2002.
[44] "Juju" includes the worship or invocation of any object or being other than Allah. Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, secs. 408, Mar. 2002.
[45] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, secs. 413–414, Mar. 2002.
[46] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, sec. 298(a), May 29, 1999, as updated through to May 7, 2018.
[47] The 12 states that adopted Shariah laws into their criminal legislation are Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara. Human Rights Watch, Political Shari’a? Human Rights and Islamic Law in Northern Nigeria, Vol. 16, No. 9 (A), Sep. 2004.
[48] Pamela Okoroigwe and Olafisoye Joke, affiliated with Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), email to DPW, DPW Nigeria Doc. E-1, Oct. 8, 2018.
[49] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004. Penal Code (Northern States) Federal Provisions Act, Sep. 30, 1960, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. P3, Rev. Ed. 2004. Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, Mar. 2002. Armed Forces Act of Nigeria, Jul. 6, 1994, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. A20, Rev. Ed. 2004. Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Mar. 29, 1984, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. R11, Rev. Ed. 2004. Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011, No. 10, Jun. 2, 2011. Terrorism (Prevention)(Amendment) Act of Nigeria, 2013, Feb. 21, 2013.
[50] In Kebbi state, for instance, the evidentiary requirements to prove adultery include four male Muslim witnesses, a pregnancy, or a confession. In Kano and Katsina states, the conditions for proving adultery or rape in respect of a married person include a valid marriage, consummation of marriage, and four witnesses or a confession. The crimes of sodomy and incest also require four male Muslim witnesses or a confession. Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, p. 68 n. 162, p. 69 nn. 172, 174, p. 70 n. 181, Mar. 2002.
[51] Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), Terrorism (Prevention) Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill Scales Second Reading in the House of Representatives, https://placng.org/wp/2018/05/terrorism-prevention-act-repeal-and-re-enactment-bill-scales-second-reading-in-the-house-of-representatives/, May 9, 2018.
[52] Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2018.
[53] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004. Penal Code (Northern States) Federal Provisions Act, Sep. 30, 1960, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. P3, Rev. Ed. 2004. Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, Mar. 2002. Armed Forces Act of Nigeria, Jul. 6, 1994, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. A20, Rev. Ed. 2004. Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Mar. 29, 1984, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. R11, Rev. Ed. 2004. Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011, No. 10, Jun. 2, 2011. Terrorism (Prevention)(Amendment) Act of Nigeria, 2013, Feb. 21, 2013.
[54] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, secs. 198–199 (a), Mar. 2002.
[55] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 319, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[56] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 316, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[57] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, secs. 50, 152(c)(d), 199, Mar. 2002.
[58] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 319, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[59] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 199, Mar. 2002.
[60] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 205, Mar. 2002.
[61] Armed Forces Act of Nigeria, sec. 106, Jul. 6, 1994, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. A20, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[62] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, secs. 316, 319, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[63] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 316, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[64] Section 207 of the Criminal Code of Nigeria states, “[t]he trial by the ordeal of sasswood, esere-bean, or other poison, boiling oil, fire, immersion in water or exposure to the attacks of crocodiles or other wild animals, or by any ordeal which is likely to result in the death of or bodily injury to any party to the proceeding is unlawful.” Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 207, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[65] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 208, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[66] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, ch. VIII, sec. 152(c)(d), Mar. 2002.
[67] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, ch. VIII, sec. 193(a), Mar. 2002.
[68] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 330(2), Mar. 2002.
[69] "Juju" includes the worship or invocation of any object or being other than Allah. Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 408, Mar. 2002.
[70] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 411, Mar. 2002.
[71] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 407, Mar. 2002.
[72] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 199, Mar. 2002.
[73] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 128(b), Mar. 2002. Zamfara State Shari’ah Penal Code, sec. 129(b), Jan. 2000.
[74] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 402, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[75] Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, sec. 1(2)(3), Mar. 29, 1984, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. R11, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[76] Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011, sec. 295(2), Aug. 19, 2011.
[77] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 126 (b), Mar. 2002. Zamfara State Shari’a Penal Code, sec. 126, Jan. 2000.
[78] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, secs. 406, 408–409, p. 133 n. 627, p. 134 n. 637, Mar. 2002.
[79] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 130, Mar. 2002. Zamfara State Shari’a Penal Code, sec. 130, Jan. 2000.
[80] The Criminal Code Act of Nigeria defines treachery as follows: “If, with intent to help the enemy in any war in which Nigeria may be engaged, any person does, or attempts to do, any act which is designed or likely to give assistance to the naval, military or air operations of the enemy, to impede such operations of the armed forces of Nigeria, or to endanger life, he shall be guilty of felony [treachery] and shall on conviction suffer death.” Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, sec. 49A, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[81] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, secs. 37–38, 49A, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[82] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, secs. 37(2), Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[83] Penal Code (Northern States) Federal Provisions Act, secs 410–411, Sep. 30, 1960, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. P3, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[84] Armed Forces Act of Nigeria, secs. 52, 107, 114, Jul. 6, 1994, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. A20, Rev. Ed. 2004.
[85] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 132(b), Mar. 2002.
[86] "Juju" includes the worship or invocation of any object or being other than Allah. Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, sec. 408, Mar. 2002.
[87] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, secs. 408–409, Mar. 2002.
[88] "Juju" includes the worship or invocation of any object or being other than Allah. Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, secs. 408, Mar. 2002.
[89] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, secs. 413–414, Mar. 2002.
[90] Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, secs. 198–199(a), Mar. 2002.
[91] Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, Jun. 1, 1916, in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (in force on the 31st day of December 2002), Ch. 38, Rev. Ed. 2004. Center for Islamic Legal Studies of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Harmonised Sharia Penal Code Annotated, Mar. 2002 (compiling the Shariah law of northern states and the Penal Code applicable in northern states).
[92] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria reportedly hangs four in first executions since 2006, http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/nigeria-reportedly-hangs-four-first-executions-2006-2013-06-24, Jun. 24, 2013. Reuters, Nigeria Hangs Four Prisoners in First Executions since 2006, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/25/us-nigeria-execution-idUSBRE95O0RA20130625, Jun. 25, 2014.
[93] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria reportedly hangs four in first executions since 2006, http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/nigeria-reportedly-hangs-four-first-executions-2006-2013-06-24, Jun. 24, 2013. Reuters, Nigeria Hangs Four Prisoners in First Executions since 2006, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/25/us-nigeria-execution-idUSBRE95O0RA20130625, Jun. 25, 2014.
[94] Child Act, sec. 221, 2003.
[95] Child Rights International Network, Inhuman Sentencing of Children In Nigeria, http://www.crin.org/docs/Nigeria_UPR_CRIN_FINAL.pdf, Mar. 2013.
[96] Child Rights International Network, Inhuman Sentencing of Children In Nigeria, http://www.crin.org/docs/Nigeria_UPR_CRIN_FINAL.pdf, Mar. 2013.
[97] Child Rights International Network, Inhuman Sentencing of Children In Nigeria, http://www.crin.org/docs/Nigeria_UPR_CRIN_FINAL.pdf, Mar. 2013.
[98] Child and Young Persons Act, art. 12, 1943.
[99] Nigeria Criminal Code Act, arts. 319, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria Ed. 2000 Ch. 77, Jun. 1, 1916, as updated to Dec. 31, 2000. Criminal Procedure Act, art. 368(3), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria Ed. 2000 Ch. 80, Jun. 1, 1945, as updated to Dec. 31, 2000.
[100] Child Rights International Network, Inhuman Sentencing of Children In Nigeria, http://www.crin.org/docs/Nigeria_UPR_CRIN_FINAL.pdf, Mar. 2013.
[101] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ p. 43, AFR 44/020/2008, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/poverty-and-the-death-penalty-in-nigeria-20081021, Oct. 21, 2008. Nigeria Criminal Code Act, arts. 39, 319, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria Ed. 2000 Ch. 77, Jun. 1, 1916, as updated to Dec. 31, 2000.
[102] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Mar. 14, 2014.
[103] Status, Declaration, and Reservations, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3, Nov. 20, 1989, https://treaties.un.org/pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en, Jun. 16, 2014.
[104] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Mar. 4, 2014.
[105] U.N. CRC, Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Nigeria, paras. 7, 32-33, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/NGA/CO/3-4, Jun. 11, 2010.
[106] Bertram Nwannekanma, ECOWAS Court upholds rights of death row detainees, http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/news/national-news/166818-ecowas-court-upholds-rights-of-death-row-detainees, Jun. 18, 2014.
[107] Ikenna Emewu, ECOWAS Court Stops Death Penalty in Nigeria, The Sun, http://sunnewsonlinEd.com/new/?p=56385, Mar. 15, 2014.
[108] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ p. 43, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008. Nigeria Criminal Procedure Act, art. 368(2), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria Ed. 2000 Ch. 80, Jun. 1, 1945, as updated to Dec. 31, 2000.
[109] Lilian Chenwi, Towards the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Africa: A Human Rights Perspective, p.41, Pretoria University Law Press, 2007.
[110] Gerald E. Lampe, ed., Justice and Human Rights in Islamic Law, p. 56, Intl. Law Institute, 1997.
[111] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Mar. 14, 2014.
[112] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Mar. 14, 2014.
[113] Nigeria Criminal Code Act, art. 28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria Ed. 2000 Ch. 77, Jun. 1, 1916, as updated to Dec. 31, 2000.
[114] Nigeria Criminal Code Act, art. 28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria Ed. 2000 Ch. 77, Jun. 1, 1916, as updated to Dec. 31, 2000.
[115] Nigeria Criminal Procedure Act, arts. 222-223, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria Ed. 2000 Ch. 80, Jun. 1, 1945, as updated to Dec. 31, 2000.
[116] Adamu A. Ja’afaru, affiliated with Human Rights Law Service, interviewed by Ellen Wight, Nigeria Doc. Interview-1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[117] Nigeria Criminal Code Act, art. 28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria Ed. 2000 Ch. 77, Jun. 1, 1916, as updated to Dec. 31, 2000.
[118] Nigeria Criminal Code Act, art. 28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria Ed. 2000 Ch. 77, Jun. 1, 1916, as updated to Dec. 31, 2000.
[119] Status, African Convention on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification/, last accessed Jun. 18, 2014.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

July 29, 1993. [2]

Signed?

No. [3]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Recognizing Jurisdiction of the Human Rights Committee

Party?

No. [4]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [5]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Toward the Abolition of the Death Penalty

Party?

No. [6]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [7]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

American Convention on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)

Party?

Yes. [8]

Date of Accession

Signed?

Yes. [9]

Date of Signature

August 31, 1982. [10]

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

Yes. [11]

Date of Accession

December 16, 2004. [12]

Signed?

Yes. [13]

Date of Signature

December 16, 2003. [14]

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

Yes. [15]

Date of Accession

July 23, 2001. [16]

Signed?

Yes. [17]

Date of Signature

July 13, 1999. [18]

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

2016 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [19]

Vote

Abstained. [20]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [21]

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [22]

Vote

Abstained. [23]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [24]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [25]

Vote

Abstained. [26]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [27]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [28]

Vote

Abstained. [29]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [30]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [31]

Vote

Against. [32]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [33]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [34]

Vote

Against. [35]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [36]

References

[1] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[2] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[3] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[4] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[5] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[6] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[7] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[8] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[9] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[10] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[11] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[12] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[13] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[14] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[15] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification/, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[16] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification/, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[17] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification/, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[18] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification/, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[19] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 54–71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[20] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 54–71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[21] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Note Verbale dated 7 September 2017, U.N. Doc. A/71/1047, Sep. 13, 2017.
[22] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 141, 144, U.N. Doc. A/69/488/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2014.
[23] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17–18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[24] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[25] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 95–96, U.N. Doc. A/67/457/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2012.
[26] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16–17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[27] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[28] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, p. 5, U.N. Doc. A/65/456/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2010
[29] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18–19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[30] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[31] U.N.G.A., 63rd session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/63/430/Add.2, Dec. 4, 2008.
[32] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16–17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[33] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[34] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, pp. 3–4, U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[35] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16–17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[36] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008.

Death Penalty In Law

Does the country’s constitution make reference to capital punishment?

The Constitution provides that no one may be deprived of life except “in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.” [1] It also provides that appeal from a sentence of death pronounced by a Federal High Court lies as of right to the Court of Appeal and then to the Supreme Court. [2] An appeal of right is one that the higher court must hear if the appellant demands it. [3]

Does the country’s constitution make reference to international law?

The Preamble to the Constitution declares that the people of Nigeria are “dedicated to the promotion of inter-African solidarity, world peace, international co-operation and understanding.” [4] The Constitution further provides that a foreign policy objective of Nigeria is to respect international law and treaty obligations. [5]

In 2009, then-Chief Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi signed into law the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules under Chapter IV of the Constitution, emphasizing the obligation of national courts to apply international human rights treaties when considering fundamental rights. [6] Pursuant to these Rules, federal and state High Courts [7] are instructed to respect “regional and international bills of rights,” [8] including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and its protocols, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other instruments in the United Nations human rights system. [9] Moreover, fundamental rights contained in the Constitution and in the African Charter are to be “expansively and purposely interpreted and applied, with a view to advancing and realising the rights and freedoms contained in them.” [10] Pursuant to these Rules, advocates, activists, lawyers, and non-governmental organizations may institute human rights applications on behalf of any potential applicant. [11] Courts must encourage public interest litigation and cannot strike any human rights case for lack of standing. [12] Human rights cases are to be given priority, and any case involving the liberty of a person “shall be treated as an emergency.” [13] The Rules provide that human rights applications are not affected by limitation statutes. [14]

Have there been any significant changes in the application of the death penalty over the last several years?

While more than 2,600 people were convicted and executed between 1970 and 1999, the rate of executions dropped dramatically after the fall of the military government in May 1999. From May 1999 to 2006, Amnesty estimates that at least 22 people were executed. [15] After a 7-year hiatus without executions, four death row inmates were executed in 2013. [16] In June 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan urged state Governors to sign death warrants for death row prisoners. [17] The four executions took place shortly after in Edo State. [18] All four individuals still had appeals pending when they were executed, according to their lawyers, [19] in violation of Nigerian and international law.

In early July 2010, reports indicated that the Nigerian government had contemplated mass executions of death row inmates, many of whom may have been convicted in unfair trials, in order to somewhat diminish overcrowding. Two (or more) Nigerian NGOs—the Legal Resources Consortium and the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project—obtained injunctions and orders against the execution of death row prisoners as violating a variety of human rights protections. Reports conflict as to whether 824 or more than 870 individuals were affected by these injunctions and orders.

In 2007, Manfred Nowak, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, observed that the dropping execution rate masks the continued use of death sentences by courts in a system where individuals are held under inhuman conditions on death row for an average of 17 years. [20]

Civilian government has seen the extension of Shariah law to criminal law. According to Philip Alston, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary executions, reporting in 2006, states applying Shariah law have extended the scope of the death penalty to penalize private sexual conduct, violating the ICCPR’s prohibition against the use of the death penalty for non-criminal conduct and conflating moral disapprobation with the criminal law. [21]

In 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan introduced a Cybercrime Bill. [22] A provision of the Bill includes the death penalty as punishment for individuals who hack into the Critical National Information Infrastructure, causing loss of life. [23] At the time of this report, the National Assembly was considering the Bill. [24]

In June 2014, the ECOWAS Court of Justice issued two separate judgments prohibiting Nigeria from executing two death row prisoners. One of the prisoners, Maimuna Abdulmumini, was sentenced to death for murdering her husband at the age of 13. The court held that the death sentence was a violation of the ICCPR’s prohibition on applying capital punishment to minors and awarded Abdulmumini trial costs and damages. In a second judgment, the court ruled that executing Thankgod Ebhos, who has a pending appeal in the Court of Appeal, would be also be a violation of the ICCPR. [25] In March 2014, Justice Minister Bello Adoke had announced that the federal government would suspend executions in accordance with the ECOWAS court’s interim decisions. [26] Nevertheless, he commented that the federal nature of the Nigerian justice system complicates the issue, nothing that the decision whether or not to execute a criminal ultimately resides with state governments. [27]

Is there currently an official moratorium on executions within the country?

There is no legislative or executive moratorium on executions in Nigeria. The last executions were carried out in 2013. [28] In 2007, the Presidential Commission on Reform of the Administration of Justice recommended a moratorium on the death penalty but the federal government did not implement it. [29]

Have there been any significant published cases concerning the death penalty in national courts?

In 1986, the federal Supreme Court ruled that the execution of Nasiru Bello, which took place while his appeal was still pending before the Court of Appeal, was unconstitutional. This ruling prevents executions from taking place unless a prisoner has exhausted the appeals process, provided the prisoner files an appeal. [30] Under the Constitution, appeals against death sentences are as of right. [31]

In 1998, the federal Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty, as long as it is imposed for a criminal offence by a court of law. [32]

Nigeria’s Supreme Court, in a 2007 appeal on a 1985 judgment from the state of Lagos, declined to rule on the constitutionality of the death penalty for armed robbery, instead overturning a conviction on narrower evidentiary grounds. [33]

In September 2012, the High Court (the highest appellate court) of Lagos State declared that the mandatory death penalty was unconstitutional. The court in James Ajulu & Ors v. Attorney General of Lagos also held that execution by hanging or firing squad is unconstitutional. It explained that these methods of execution amounted to “a violation of the condemned’s right to dignity of the human person and inhuman and degrading treatment” and are a violation of the right to human dignity as a person under Section 34(1) of the Lagos Constitution. [34] Its holding is only enforceable in Lagos State.

While we did not find court opinions by Shariah courts, Philip Alston, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Summary, Extrajudicial and Arbitrary Executions, reported in 2006 that Shariah Courts of Appeal exercised review to limit application of the death penalty, overturning a number of sentences on the grounds that the state’s evidence failed to meet Shariah standards. Shariah appeals courts judges explained that under Shariah evidentiary standards, the death penalty should be only rarely applicable. Shariah Courts of Appeal apply principles that strongly support a presumption against the use of the death penalty, especially with regard to zina, or offenses against sexual mores. For instance, an estranged or divorced woman’s child is presumed to be her husband’s child even after several years have passed; sexual indiscretion cannot be considered adultery unless it is shown that a marriage was consummated; and sexual acts (including homosexual acts) cannot, in the absence of pregnancy or a confession (which can be retracted), be death eligible without the testimony of four witnesses. [35] As of 2006, the federal government’s position was that states applying Shariah law for sexual offenses are acting unconstitutionally, [36] but this issue has not come up for constitutional review.

Where can one locate or access judicial decisions regarding the death penalty?

All the decisions of the Supreme Court of Nigeria since its inception in 1963 are available on the court’s website (http://judgment.supremecourt.gov.ng) and can be searched by title or date. Some recent judgments are also available on the website of the Court of Appeals (http://www.courtofappeal.gov.ng). The website of the Federal High Courts was under construction at the time of research but may in future include judicial decisions (http://www.fhc-ng.com/libray.htm).

Judgments from death penalty cases tried at the state level may also be available on the websites of the relevant courts. The website of the Lagos judiciary, for instance, hosts some judicial decisions (https://lagosjudiciary.gov.ng/jis_new/programs.aspx).

There is no government case law reporting and of the many case reporters published privately over the years, none has lasted long enough to become a single comprehensive source. [37]

What is the clemency process?

According to the Nigerian Constitution, the President and State Governors have the power to grant pardons and commute death sentences. The President may pardon, suspend, or decrease any punishment imposed under a law passed by the National Assembly after consultation with the Council of State and may also exercise these powers with respect to death sentences issued by a court-martial. [38] Governors exercise similar powers with respect to punishments imposed under state law “after consultation with such advisory council of the state on [the] prerogative of mercy as may be established by law of the State.” [39] Prisoners may petition for clemency after they have exhausted all appeals. [40]

Amnesty International reported in 2008 that the absence of clear guidelines obscures access to the clemency process. For instance, prisoners may be eligible for commutation or release after 10 years of good conduct on death row, but there are no guidelines defining good conduct and some prisoners report that bribes are necessary to be listed as eligible for commutation or release. [41]

In practice, pardons and commutations of death sentences occur at both the federal and state levels. In January 2000, for instance, President Obasanjo issued a federal amnesty, ordering the pardon and release of prisoners who had been on death row for over 20 years and commutations to life imprisonment for those who had been on death row for 10 to 20 years. [42] At the state level, in another example, the governor of Lagos pardoned and released three death row inmates in June 2009. [43] According to our sources, many State Governors do not sign execution warrants and the mass commutation of death sentences is carried out predominantly at the state level, usually on national holidays. [44]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

No. [45]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

Individuals charged with federal and certain other capital offenses are tried in the Federal High Courts. Appeal against a capital conviction or sentence lies as of right to the Court of Appeal and then to the Supreme Court. [46]

Muslims in states maintaining Shariah courts, or other individuals who consent to the jurisdiction of a Shariah court, may be tried for criminal offenses by Shariah courts. The Shariah criminal procedure code allows defendants 30 days to appeal sentences involving mutilation or death. [47] Cases are tried before the Lower Shariah Courts, and appealed to the Upper Shariah Courts and then to the Shariah Courts of Appeal. Only one judge sits on lower and upper Shariah courts, whereas between three and five judges sit on the Court of Appeals. [48] Shariah appellate courts have consistently overturned stoning sentences on account of procedural or evidentiary problems. [49] Appeals from Shariah Courts of Appeal lie to the federal Court of Appeal and then to the Supreme Court as of right. [50] The Shariah Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory operates in Abuja. Constitutionally, however, the jurisdiction of the court pertains only to civil matters under Islamic law, although the National Assembly may confer additional jurisdiction on the court. [51]

References

[1] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, sec. 33(1), May 29, 1999, as updated through to May 7, 2018.
[2] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, secs. 233(2)(d), 241(1)(e), May 29, 1999, as updated through to May 7, 2018.
[3] Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School, Appeal, https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/appeal, last accessed Jul. 17, 2018.
[4] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Preamble, May 29, 1999, as updated through to May 7, 2018.
[5] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, sec. 19(d), May 29, 1999, as updated through to May 7, 2018.
[6] Abdulwahab Abdulah, Innovations in new Fundamental Rights Rule, Vanguard, https://www.vanguardngr.com/2010/02/innovations-in-new-fundamental-rights-rule/, Feb. 4, 2010.
[7] Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, Order 1 – Application and Interpretation, sec. 2, Nov. 11, 2009.
[8] Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, Preamble, sec. 3(b), Nov. 11, 2009.
[9] Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, sec. 3(b), Nov. 11, 2009.
[10] Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, Preamble, sec. 3(a), Nov. 11, 2009.
[11] Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, Preamble, sec. 3(e), Nov. 11, 2009.
[12] Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, Preamble, sec. 3(e), Nov. 11, 2009.
[13] Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, Preamble, sec. 3(g), Nov. 11, 2009.
[14] Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, Order III – Limitation of Action, sec. 1, Nov. 11, 2009.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ pp. 36-37, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[16] Amnesty Intl, Nigeria executions: “They almost executed him secretly”, https://www.amnesty.org/en/news/nigeria-death-penalty-feature-2013-06-28, Jun. 28, 2013.
[17] Amnesty Intl, Nigeria executions: “They almost executed him secretly”, https://www.amnesty.org/en/news/nigeria-death-penalty-feature-2013-06-28, Jun. 28, 2013.
[18] Amnesty Intl, Nigeria executions: “They almost executed him secretly”, https://www.amnesty.org/en/news/nigeria-death-penalty-feature-2013-06-28, Jun. 28, 2013.
[19] Amnesty Intl, Nigeria executions: “They almost executed him secretly”, https://www.amnesty.org/en/news/nigeria-death-penalty-feature-2013-06-28, Jun. 28, 2013.
[20] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, para. 61, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/7/3/Add.4, Nov. 22, 2007.
[21] For example, see: U.N. ESC, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Summary, Extrajudicial or Arbitrary Executions, Philip Alston, paras. 21-26, 32-28, 81, E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.4, Jan. 7, 2006.
[22] Nigerian Monitor, President Goodluck Jonathan Seeks Death Penalty for Cyber Crime, Jan. 29, 2014.
[23] CybercrimeBill 2013, sec 5(3), Jan. 28, 2014.
[24] Eseohe Ebhota, Nigerians React to Cyber-Crime Bill, AllAfrica.com, http://allafrica.com/stories/201402031339.html, Feb. 2, 2014.
[25] Bertram Nwannekanma, ECOWAS Court upholds rights of death row detainees, http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/news/national-news/166818-ecowas-court-upholds-rights-of-death-row-detainees, Jun. 18, 2014.
[26] Ikenna Emewu, ECOWAS Court Stops Death Penalty in Nigeria, The Sun, http://sunnewsonlinEd.com/new/?p=56385, Mar. 15, 2014.
[27] Ikenna Emewu, ECOWAS Court Stops Death Penalty in Nigeria, The Sun, http://sunnewsonlinEd.com/new/?p=56385, Mar. 15, 2014.
[28] Amnesty Intl, Nigeria executions: “They almost executed him secretly”, https://www.amnesty.org/en/news/nigeria-death-penalty-feature-2013-06-28, Jun. 28, 2013.
[29] Amnesty Intl, Nigeria: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Nigerian Civil Society Groups Call on State Governments Not To Resume the Execution of Prisoners, AFR 44/010/2010, Jun. 25, 2010.
[30] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ p. 34, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[31] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, arts. 233(2)(d), 241(1)(e), 251(2&3), 272(1),May 29, 1999, as amended by the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure), Nov. 11, 2009. Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: Waiting for the Hangman, p. 42, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[32] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ p. 41, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[33] Olayinka v. State, S.C. 279/2003, Supreme Court of Nigeria, Apr. 20, 2007.
[34] The Nation, Court Restrains Govt From Executing Five by Hanging, http://thenationonlineng.net/new/court-restrains-govt-from-executing-five-by-hanging/, Sep. 25, 2012.
[35] For example, see: U.N. ESC, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Summary, Extrajudicial or Arbitrary Executions, Philip Alston, paras. 21-26, 32-28, E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.4, Jan. 7, 2006.
[36] For example, see: U.N. ESC, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Summary, Extrajudicial or Arbitrary Executions, Philip Alston, paras. 21-26, 32-28, E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.4, Jan. 7, 2006.
[37] Yemisi Dina, John Akintayo & Funke Ekundayo, Update: Guide to Nigerian Legal Information, GlobaLex, http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/Nigeria1.htm, Mar. 2013.
[38] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, art. 175, May 29, 1999.
[39] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, art. 212, May 29, 1999.
[40] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ pp. 42-43, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[41] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ p. 23, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[42] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ p. 23, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[43] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 23, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[44] Adamu A. Ja’afaru, affiliated with Human Rights Law Service, interviewed by Ellen Wight, Nigeria Doc. Interview-1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[45] Criminal Procedure Act, art. 368(3), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria Ed. 2000 Ch. 80, Jun. 1, 1945, as updated to Dec. 31, 2000.
[46] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, arts. 233(2)(d), 241(1)(e), 251(2&3), 272(1), May 29, 1999. Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: Waiting for the Hangman, p. 42, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[47] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Nigeria, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.statEd.gov/documents/organization/220358.pdf, Feb. 25, 2014.
[48] Human Rights Watch, “Political Shariah” Human Rights and Islamic Law in northern Nigeria, p. 18, Vol. 16, No.9, Sep. 2004.
[49] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Nigeria, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.statEd.gov/documents/organization/220358.pdf, Feb. 25, 2014.
[50] Human Rights Watch, “Political Shariah” Human Rights and Islamic Law in northern Nigeria, p. 18, Vol. 16, No.9, Sep. 2004.
[51] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, art 262(1), May 29, 1999.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

Death-row inmates are held in Enugu Prison, Lagos Kiri-kiri Prison, Oko Prison, Port Harcourt prison, Benin City Prison and Kaduna prison in Nigeria. [1]

A 2008 report notes that 5 of 11 female death row inmates were held in Kiri-kiri Women’s Prison while the other 6 were “held in the female wings of six other prisons,” such as Katsina Central Prison. [2]

Description of Prison Conditions

Prison conditions and the treatment of prisoners on death row vary somewhat from one facility to another, [3] but conditions are harsh and life-threatening throughout the country. Most prisons in Nigeria were built prior to 1960 and are in such a state of decay that during a recent prison escape the walls of the prison simply gave way. [4]

Prisons are grossly overcrowded, with some prisons holding more than 800 percent of their designed capacity. [5] Lack of potable water and inadequate sewage facilities result in dangerous and unsanitary conditions. Ventilation is insufficient, and prisoners are forced to use buckets as toilets, with little or no privacy. The food provided on a budget of approximately $1.50 a day per prisoner is of very poor quality. [6] Because “prison officials routinely [steal] money provided for food for prisoners,” only those with resources or relatives who are able to bring food have regularly adequate nutrition. Bedding is inadequate; some prisoners must sleep on concrete floors, without blankets. Extortion, abuse and torture are common. [7]

Prisons usually have medical facilities, but many inmates are ill because they lack the money to bribe wardens for access to medical care or to purchase necessary medications. Mosquito netting and basic medicines are lacking. Malaria, influenza, tuberculosis, and the spread of HIV/AIDS threaten prisoners’ lives. [8]

Prisoners suffer from violence. Female inmates report facing threats of rape. [9]

Many prisoners die due to lack of medical care, inadequate nutrition and the spread of serious but preventable diseases. Many prisoners have reported witnessing the death of a fellow inmate due to these conditions. [10]

Death row prisoners are segregated from the general population in cell blocks built to hold 6 inmates but which can hold up to 18-24 people. [11] Death row conditions vary from prison to prison. In some prisons, death row inmates are restricted to their cells throughout most of the day, but in others prisoners are allowed outside their cells during the day. [12] Death-sentenced prisoners do not know when they will be executed. One inmate reported that upon arrival of the hangman at the prison, guards give progressively more precise hints until prisoners are able to determine who will be hanged. Another inmate reported that, in his prison, inmates did not know who would be executed; only after 2 p.m. does a prisoner know that he will not be executed that day. Prisoners who have exhausted the appeals process are often held in a section of the jail where they can see executions taking place. After an execution, other death row inmates are asked to clean the gallows. Condemned prisoners spend an average of 20 years under these conditions, developing serious mental illnesses for which they receive no treatment. [13] One organization is “trying to compel judges to remove mentally ill prisoners from the general population.” [14] Furthermore, individuals accused of death-eligible crimes are forced to wait long periods of time before trial. Of the over 1,000 people who were under sentence of death in Nigeria at the end of 2012, most have waited between five and 10 years to be tried. [15]

Prison officials sometimes reportedly make efforts to improve conditions for death row inmates. According to Amnesty International, Kiri-Kiri Prison officials addressed dark and filthy conditions by painting death row blocks in bright colors, and this had some positive impact on inmates’ mental well-being. [16]

Are there any known foreign nationals currently under sentence of death?

We did not find any reports of foreign nationals currently on Nigeria’s death row. [17]

What are the nationalities of the known foreign nationals on death row?

We did not find any reports of foreign nationals currently on Nigeria’s death row. [18]

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

At the end of 2011 an estimated 16 women were on death row. [19] We were unable to find more recent figures.

Are there any reports of individuals currently under sentence of death who may have been under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed?

There may be juveniles under sentence of death in Nigeria. [20] In 2010, there were 40 death row inmates believed to have been under the age of 18 at the time of their offenses. [21] We have not seen any reports that these death sentences were reviewed. Furthermore, as of March 2013, fifteen of Nigeria’s thirty-six states did not legally prohibit the execution of prisoners who were under 18 at the time of their offenses. [22]

In June 2014, the ECOWAS Court of Justice issued a judgment holding that the death sentence of Maimuna Abdulmumini, who was convicted of murdering her husband at the age of 13, was a violation of the ICCPR’s prohibition on applying capital punishment to minors. The court awarded Abdulmumini trial costs and damages. [23] In March 2014, Justice Minister Bello Adoke had announced that the federal government would not carry out her execution in accordance with the ECOWAS court’s interim decisions. [24] The ECOWAS judgment thus has the potential to change Nigeria’s practice with regard to sentencing juveniles to death.

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

We did not find any specific discussion of racial or ethnic disparity in application of the death penalty.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

The Constitution provides that the National Assembly may designate a High Court to determine whether a defendant’s “need for legal aid is real.” [25] The Legal Aid Act defines the right to legal representation. [26] While according to some reports the right to legal representation in capital cases is conceded, [27] others indicate that in practice the right to representation in capital cases is not always respected. [28] Attorneys are denied access to evidence, and on at least one occasion an attorney was simply instructed by the court to “sit down” and was not permitted to properly mount a defense in court. In some cases, the attorneys appointed to capital defendants are inexperienced. [29]

According to an in-country expert, legal aid is difficult to come by. When funds are set aside by the District Attorney for legal aid attorneys, compensation is at approximately 10% of the usual rate. Federal legal aid is usually supplied by overworked, inexperienced lawyers who quickly transition to civil litigation practice. People who seek legal aid through other means such as NGOs or via a court appointment may experience delays. It is uncommon for a defendant to have access to an attorney soon after arrest and lawyers may not be present during police interrogations. [30]

According to Amnesty International, the Legal Aid Council, a governmental organization established under the Legal Aid Act, is not required to provide attorneys for individuals accused of armed robbery (a crime which carries the death penalty), although the LAC is required to represent those accused of stealing and affray—less serious crimes. Amnesty reports that, in practice, the LAC increasingly defends those accused of armed robbery. [31]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

We did not find information indicating that indigent prisoners on appeal are able to obtain state-funded attorneys. In 2008, Amnesty International reported that 4 out of 10 prisoners on death row had not filed appeals either because they were denied the right to appeal or because they lacked money for court fees and an attorney. Some prisoners who had served a number of years on death row were reluctant to file appeals because the clemency process is perceived to be a more efficient and reliable path towards release. It is possible that some parts of Amnesty’s study are outdated because they address convictions of individuals under the military regime. With the advent of civilian government, and as the Legal Aid Council has increased its activities, it is possible that the situation is changing for more recent capital defendants. [32]

An in-country expert reported that access to appeals usually depends on money, and that legal aid or pro bono attorneys usually only handle trials. [33] Domestic and international charitable intervention has been effective in affording some defendants an appeal. [34] Our source corroborates that appeals for indigents tend to be the domain of NGOs. [35]

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The government sometimes does not respect the defense’s right to review prosecution evidence prior to trial or to mount an adequate defense in the courtroom. [36] Moreover, the government sometimes appoints inexperienced attorneys to represent those facing capital charges [37] and legal aid fees are reportedly set at 10% of the normal rate. [38]

An in-country expert notes that there are few attorneys who specialize in criminal defense work. Due to financial restraints and police intimidation, defense attorneys rarely conduct independent investigations prior to trial. A defense attorney who attempts to investigate may be accused of witness tampering and threatened with arrest. Defense attorneys do not depose prosecution witnesses; they are given a list of witnesses and what those witnesses will say at trial, and the prosecution may withhold information. The defense may be forced to rely on a witness coming forward. Forensics testing is problematic; the police usually have only one forensic pathologist, such experts are usually not used in investigation, and the defense may have to bear the costs of forensic testing (such as autopsies) if an attorney believes that evidence from independent testing is necessary for an adequate defense. Police avoid the use of forensics testing in substantiating charges. [39]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

Until recently, Nigeria was ruled by a military government under which individuals were sentenced to death for common offenses by special tribunals and denied the right to appeal. Access to clemency (which still affects those convicted during that period) has, in recent years, been limited to those with financial means. [40]

Some of the human rights abuses related to application of the death penalty have been carried on by the civilian government. A 2000 study revealed that approximately 80% of individuals in Nigerian prisons had been beaten or tortured by police. [41] By 2007 Manfred Nowak, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture, reported that “torture is an intrinsic part of how the police operate within the country,” and at criminal investigation detention facilities “it was a challenge to find a detainee who had not been ill-treated. [42] ” Amnesty International reported that, by 2008, more than half of individuals on death row in Nigeria had been convicted on the basis of a confessional statement, with courts often failing to enforce the legal prohibition against the admissibility of coerced confessions. [43]

Individuals may be held for years before being brought to trial. Appeals may be pending for over a decade. [44]

Domestic human rights groups seeking to use the courts to pursue systemic reforms have met with some success, [45] and in general human rights defenders in Nigeria have been recognized as effective and resilient. [46] Notably, the Human Rights Protection Unit and the Office of the Public Defender have had a noticeable impact in Lagos State, according to a 2006 report by Hina Jilani, the U.N. Special Representative of human rights defenders. [47]

Asma Jahangir, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on religious freedom, reported that Muslims have complained of violations of their rights due to an “open ended monopoly of interpreting Shariah” that has been left in the hands of poorly trained judges. Muslim lawyers and scholars complained that they felt too threatened to challenge “the substance or implementation” of Shariah penal law. [48]

References

[1] Ayodeji Adeyami, Waiting Endlessly on Nigeria’s Death Row, Al Jazeera http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/11/waiting-endlessly-nigeria-death-row-2013112094420106741.html, Dec. 4, 2013. Afua Hisch, Nigeria Hangs Four Prisoners, the Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/25/nigeria-prisoners-hanged-benin-city, Jun. 25, 2013. Nigeria: In Overcrowded Prisons, Survival is a Daily Battle, IRIN, http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=57777, Jan. 11, 2006. Amnesty Intl., Nigeria and the World Day 2006: Unfair Trials, p. 1, http://www.amnestyusa.org/actioncenter/actions/action7579.pdf, 2006.
[2] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ p. 28, 29, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ p. 26, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[4] Adamu A. Ja’afaru, affiliated with Human Rights Law Service, interviewed by Ellen Wight, Nigeria Doc. Interview-1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[5] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Nigeria, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.statEd.gov/documents/organization/220358.pdf, Feb. 25, 2014.
[6] Adamu A. Ja’afaru, affiliated with Human Rights Law Service, interviewed by Ellen Wight, Nigeria Doc. Interview-1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[7] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Nigeria, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.statEd.gov/documents/organization/220358.pdf, Feb. 25, 2014.
[8] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Nigeria, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.statEd.gov/documents/organization/220358.pdf, Feb. 25, 2014.
[9] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Nigeria, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.statEd.gov/documents/organization/220358.pdf, Feb. 25, 2014.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ p. 25-29, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008. U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Nigeria, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.statEd.gov/documents/organization/220358.pdf, Feb. 25, 2014.
[11] Adamu A. Ja’afaru, affiliated with Human Rights Law Service, interviewed by Ellen Wight, Nigeria Doc. Interview-1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: Waiting for the Hangman, p. 26, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria and the World Day 2006: Unfair Trials, p. 1, http://www.amnestyusa.org/actioncenter/actions/action7579.pdf, 2006; Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: Waiting for the Hangman, p. 4-5, 27, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[14] Adamu A. Ja’afaru, affiliated with Human Rights Law Service, interviewed by Ellen Wight, Nigeria Doc. Interview-1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[15] Amnesty Intl, Nigeria: Authorities in Nigeria must not carry out any further executions of death row prisoners, http://www.refworld.org/pdfid/5225cf514.pdf, Aug. 28, 2013.
[16] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Jul. 10, 2018.
[17] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: Waiting for the Hangman, p. 26, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[18] Mark Warren, Foreigners Under Sentence of Death Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/~mwarren/world.html, Jan. 19, 2013.
[19] Mark Warren, Foreigners Under Sentence of Death Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/~mwarren/world.html, Jan. 19, 2013.
[20] Amnesty Intl, Annual Report 2012-Nigeria, http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/nigeria/report-2012#section-15-9, last accessed Mar. 7, 2014.
[21] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 8, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[22] U.N. CRC, Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Nigeria, para. 33, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/NGA/CO/3-4, Jun. 11, 2010.
[23] Child Rights International Network, Inhuman Sentencing of Children In Nigeria, http://www.crin.org/docs/Nigeria_UPR_CRIN_FINAL.pdf, Mar. 2013.
[24] Bertram Nwannekanma, ECOWAS Court upholds rights of death row detainees, http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/news/national-news/166818-ecowas-court-upholds-rights-of-death-row-detainees, Jun. 18, 2014.
[25] Ikenna Emewu, ECOWAS Court Stops Death Penalty in Nigeria, The Sun, http://sunnewsonlinEd.com/new/?p=56385, Mar. 15, 2014.
[26] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, art. 46(b)(ii), May 29, 1999.
[27] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: Waiting for the Hangman, p. 17, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[28] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Nigeria, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.statEd.gov/documents/organization/220358.pdf, Feb. 25, 2014.
[29] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: Waiting for the Hangman, p. 17, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[30] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: Waiting for the Hangman, p. 17, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008. U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Nigeria, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.statEd.gov/documents/organization/220358.pdf, Feb. 25, 2014.
[31] Adamu A. Ja’afaru, affiliated with Human Rights Law Service, interviewed by Ellen Wight, Nigeria Doc. Interview-1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[32] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ p. 42, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[33] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ p. 21, 42, generally, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[34] Adamu A. Ja’afaru, affiliated with Human Rights Law Service, interviewed by Ellen Wight, Nigeria Doc. Interview-1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[35] For example, see: U.N. ESC, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Summary, Extrajudicial or Arbitrary Executions, Philip Alston, paras. 21-26, 32-28, E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.4, Jan. 7, 2006.
[36] Adamu A. Ja’afaru, affiliated with Human Rights Law Service, interviewed by Ellen Wight, Nigeria Doc. Interview-1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[37] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: Waiting for the Hangman, p. 17, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008. U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Nigeria, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.statEd.gov/documents/organization/220358.pdf, Feb. 25, 2014.
[38] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: Waiting for the Hangman, p. 17, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008. U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Nigeria, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.statEd.gov/documents/organization/220358.pdf, Feb. 25, 2014.
[39] Adamu A. Ja’afaru, affiliated with Human Rights Law Service, interviewed by Ellen Wight, Nigeria Doc. Interview-1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[40] Adamu A. Ja’afaru, affiliated with Human Rights Law Service, interviewed by Ellen Wight, Nigeria Doc. Interview-1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[41] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ p. 3, 10, 20-23, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[42] Amnesty Intl. Nigeria: Security Forces: Service to respect and protect human rights? p. 6, AFR 44/023/2002, Dec. 2002.
[43] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, paras. 36, 40, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/7/3/Add.4, Nov. 22, 2007.
[44] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ p. 3, 10, 20-23, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008. U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, paras. 36, 40, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/7/3/Add.4, Nov. 22, 2007.
[45] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: ‘Waiting for the Hangman,’ p. 4, 42, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008.
[46] For example, see: Human Rights Watch, Nigeria: Civil Society Groups Call on State Governments Not to Resume the Execution of Prisoners, http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/06/25-5, Jun. 25, 2010; Thomas Hubert, Abolitionists Block Nigerian Executions, WCADP, http://www.worldcoalition.org/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=443, Jul. 9, 2010.
[47] U.N. ESC, Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders, Hina Jilani: Mission to Nigeria, paras. 4 et. seq., U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2006/95/Add.2, Jan. 30, 2006.
[48] U.N. ESC, Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders, Hina Jilani: Mission to Nigeria, paras. 30-33, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2006/95/Add.2, Jan. 30, 2006.
[49] U.N. ESC, Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Asma Jahangir: Mission to Nigeria, paras. 40-42, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2006/5/Add.2, Oct. 7, 2005.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

The Human Rights Committee has not issued concluding observations concerning Nigeria’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights since 1996, when Nigeria last submitted a state party report. [1]

In 1996, the Human Rights Committee expressed concern about the high number of death sentences passed and carried out without the safeguard of fair trials. The Committee also noted that the death penalty could be imposed for offenses that do not meet the “most serious crimes” standard. [2]

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

In June 2014, the ECOWAS Court of Justice issued two separate judgments prohibiting Nigeria from executing two death row prisoners. One of the prisoners, Maimuna Abdulmumini, was sentenced to death for murdering her husband at the age of 13. The court held that the death sentence was a violation of the ICCPR’s prohibition on applying capital punishment to minors and awarded Abdulmumini trial costs and damages. In a second judgment, the court ruled that executing Thankgod Ebhos, who has a pending appeal in the Court of Appeal, would be also be a violation of the ICCPR. [3] In March 2014, Justice Minister Bello Adoke had announced that the federal government would suspend executions in accordance with the ECOWAS court’s interim decisions. [4] Nevertheless, he commented that the federal nature of the Nigerian justice system complicates the issue, nothing that the decision whether or not to execute a criminal ultimately resides with state governments. [5]

In the Human Rights Council’s 2013 University Periodic Review of Nigeria, the death penalty was brought up on several occasions. A few members brought up the four executions that took place in 2013, and asked why Nigeria chose to break its de facto moratorium on the death penalty. [6] Nigeria stated that death penalty laws “could only be changed by through negotiation and persuasion and not by government fiat” and added that the 2013 executions had been carried out in accordance with the law and due process. [7] A number of countries recommended that Nigeria establish an official moratorium on the death penalty and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. [8] Nigeria reserved its response to these recommendations until a later date. [9]

In the Human Rights Council’s 2009 Universal Periodic Review of human rights in Nigeria, council members made numerous recommendations that Nigeria suspend application of the death penalty with a view towards abolition and accede to the second optional protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Nigeria noted that, as of 2009, it was continuing a self-imposed moratorium on executions. [10] In its national report, Nigeria noted “the global trend for a moratorium on the death penalty.” [11]

In preparation for the Universal Periodic Review, the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights submitted a compilation expressing concern that in Nigeria executions are carried out in secret, that under Shariah law individuals can be executed for crimes committed while under the age of 18, and that the expansion of Shariah law could lead to the execution of apostates. [12]

References

[1] U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Reporting status for Nigeria, http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/TreatyBodyExternal/countries.aspx?CountryCode=NGA&Lang=EN, last accessed Apr. 23, 2014.
[2] U.N. Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant: Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee: Nigeria, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/79/Add. 65, Jul 24, 1996.
[3] Bertram Nwannekanma, ECOWAS Court upholds rights of death row detainees, http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/news/national-news/166818-ecowas-court-upholds-rights-of-death-row-detainees, Jun. 18, 2014.
[4] Ikenna Emewu, ECOWAS Court Stops Death Penalty in Nigeria, The Sun, http://sunnewsonlinEd.com/new/?p=56385, Mar. 15, 2014.
[5] Ikenna Emewu, ECOWAS Court Stops Death Penalty in Nigeria, The Sun, http://sunnewsonlinEd.com/new/?p=56385, Mar. 15, 2014.
[6] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Nigeria, para. 115, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/25/6, Dec. 16, 2013.
[7] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Nigeria, para. 18, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/25/6, Dec. 16, 2013.
[8] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Nigeria, para. 137, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/25/6, Dec. 16, 2013.
[9] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Nigeria, para. 137, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/25/6, Dec. 16, 2013.
[10] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Nigeria, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/11/26, Mar. 3, 2009.
[11] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, National Report Submitted in Accordance with Paragraph 15(A) of the Annex to Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1: Nigeria, para. 75, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/4/NGA/1, Jan. 5, 2009.
[12] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Compilation Prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in Accordance with Paragraph 15(B) of the Annex to Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1: Nigeria, paras. 21, 40, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/4/NGA/2, Jan. 5, 2009.

Additional Sources and Contacts

Direct member(s) of World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

Nigerian Humanist Movement
Mr. Léo Igwe
Executive Secretary
PO BOX 25269 Mapo
200002 Ibadan
Oyo State, Nigeria
Tel: +234 80 33 86 10 53
humanistleo@hotmail.com
http://www.nigerianhumanists.com

HURILAWS (Human Rights Law Services)
Mr. Ja'afaru Adamu
Legal/Program Officer
Maritime Complex, 34, Creek Road - Apapa
234 Lagos, Nigeria
Tel: +234 1 745 3732
Fax: +234 1 545 4554
a.jaafaru@hurilaws.org
http://www.hurilaws.org

Legal Defence & Assistance Project (LEDAP)
Mr. Chino Obiagwu
National Coordinator
3rd Floor Lamlat House, 270 Ikorodu Road, Anthony Village
P.O. Box 6828 Shomulu, Lagos, Nigeria
Tel: +234 1 2802009
Fax: +234 1 2802009
info@ledapnigeria.org
www.ledapnigeria.org

Other non-governmental organizations and individuals engaged in advocacy surrounding the death penalty

PRAWA
Federal Capital Territory (F.C.T.)
Abuja, Nigeria
info@prawa.org, uagomoh@prawa.org
Tel: +234 803 6877 166

Reprieve
PO Box 72054
London EC3P 3BZ
United Kingdom
Tel 020 7553 8140
Fax 020 7553 8189
info@reprieve.org.uk
http://www.reprieve.org.uk

Helpful Reports and Publications

Amnesty International, Nigeria: Waiting for the Hangman, AFR 44/020/2008, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/poverty-and-the-death-penalty-in-nigeria-20081021, Oct. 21, 2008.

Center for Islamic Legal Studies, Harmonised Shariah Penal Code Annotated, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Mar. 2002.

Human Rights Watch, “Political Shariah” Human Rights and Islamic Law in Northern Nigeria, p. 13, Vol. 16, No.9, Sep. 2004.

Ostien, Philip, Sharia Implementation in Northern Nigeria 1996-2006: A Sourcebook, Chapter 4, pp. 3-21, Philip Ostien, ed., Ibadan: Spectrum Books Ltd., 2007.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

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