Following last Friday’s upholding of the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Kano Division, which sentenced actress Rabi Ismail to death by hanging, Nollywood stars weekend, pleaded with President Goodluck Jonathan to endeavour to overturn the death sentence slammed against the actress
The movie stars described the judgment as “barbaric and outdated.”
Speaking through the president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria(AGN), Mr. Segun Arinze, the actors expressed shock that in this present dispensation, the court is still awarding death penalty as the last option for anyone who is found guilty of committing a crime of homicide. They therefore pleaded with the federal government to tamper justice with mercy.
“ We have passed this age. I sincerely appeal to the government to tamper justice with mercy. Rather than sentencing her to death by hanging, they can commute it to life imprisonment. If actually she is guilty of the offence she has been accused of, let her live with the stigmafor the rest of her life.” Arinze appealed.
Also reacting to the judgment, aggrieved actress Kate Henshaw-Nuttal described it as “barbaric and unacceptable in this 21st century.”
Expressing shock, she muted ‘ it’s terrible and I don’t subscribe to it. Barbaric even in this 21st century. We shouldn’t be asking government to tamper mercy with justice. Government should tamper justice with mercy. We are not in the medieval age.”
For AMP president, Paul Obazele who was dumbfounded upon hearing the news said death penalty should be unthinkable in Nigeria.
Rabi Ismaila, an actress based in Kano has been standing trial since 2002, after she allegedly administered sedative drugs on her boyfriend, Mr. Ibrahim Auwalu ailas Zazu. She was sentenced to death in 2005.
Ismail had gone to the Supreme Court, to challenge the judgment of the Court of Appeal Kano Division that convicted and sentenced her to death by hanging.
However, against her expectations, the apex court on Friday held that having considered the proof of evidence tendered against the accused person by the Kano state Directorate of Public Prosecution, DPP, it found her guilty of culpable homicide punishable with death.
Following a detailed investigation that was conducted into the matter by various security agencies in the state, the actress was accused of complicity and was subsequently charged to court by the Kano state DPP.
Consequent upon her arraignment and trial before a Kano state High Court in 2002, the accused person was found guilty of culpable homicide contrary to section 221 (b) of the Penal Code and was accordingly sentenced to death by hanging.
Dissatisfied with the verdict of the trial court, Miss Ismail went before the Kaduna Division of the Court of Appeal, pleading it to overturn the death sentence slammed against her.