By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA — THE Federal Government has rebuked foreign critics of Nigeria over the recent execution of four condemned convicts in Edo State, insisting that nobody could question the nation’s constitution over death penalty.
Foreign governmental and non-governmental organizations had criticized Nigeria over the execution, after several years of moratorium. But the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, responded to the criticism in Abuja, at the opening of a two-day stakeholders’ consultative forum on the second cycle of Nigeria’s universal periodic review of the United Nations human right council.
Ashiru explained that the circumstances that led to the conviction of death penalty were heinous crimes against humanity, adding that the Federal Government was handling all the issues of human rights with collation of all the reports that would be presented in Geneva.
He said: “Nigeria makes no apology to anybody on the issue and nobody has the right to decide for us over our constitution. What happened in Edo State was a situation where the governor exercised the constitutional responsibility to sign the execution that took place.
“I agreed that there was an unwritten rule that we should have moratorium, pending the time our constitution will be rebuilt and reviewed. But don’t forget that this same constitution that we follow and use today was the same one handed down to us by the colonial power as at that time. Until the service book and constitution are reviewed, there is nothing anybody can do.”
Ambassador Ashiru, stated further that the governor acted within his constitutional powers, noting he didn’t see the execution as an impediment to the review of the constitution.