By Innocent Anaba
LAGOSâ€”A civil society group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, yesterdayÂ petitioned President Goodluck Jonathan over the execution of some Nigerians on death row in Libya.
Thee group wants the President â€œto urgently seek extraordinary session of the African Union Assembly to discuss the execution of Nigerians and other Africans in Libya in order to proffer durable solutions to the reccuring problem.â€
SERAP, in the petition by its Executive Director, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, said: â€œwe are seriously concerned about the execution of 18 persons including nationals of Nigeria, following purported conviction for murder. The number of Nigerians executed is yet unknown but more than 200 people are reportedly currently on death row in Libya.
â€œWe are further concerned that the state murder of Nigerians and other Africans took place despite subsisting provisional measures granted by the African Commission on Human and Peoplesâ€™ Rights, which ordered the Libyan authorities not to execute any Nigerians on death row in Libya pending the final determination of the communication SERAP initiated before the commission. The execution also took place despite a resolution by the African Commission calling for moratorium on the execution of the death penalty,â€ the group said.
It further said that â€œdeath penalty continues to be used disproportionately against foreign nationals, including Nigerians, in Libya.Â We note that the Nigerians were executed following a seriously flawed process.
For example, the Nigerians executed reportedly were not provided with interpretation or translation assistance during legal proceedings, which were conducted in Arabic. They were also denied access to the Nigerian consular office in Libya.”
The grou asked the government to rise up to the occasion and defend the rights and interests of Nigerians wherever they may be, by ensuring that Nigerians living in Libya have access to adequate consular protection and show more interest in the well-being of citizens abroad, especially in countries, such as Libya, where Nigerians have been subjected to serious human rights violations and denied their international fair trial rights.
SERAP wants government to insist that Libyan authorities implement the provisional measures issued by the African Commission on Human and Peoplesâ€™ Rights and stop further execution of Nigerians on death row in Libya.