April 7, 2016

Why we can’t execute Boko Haram convicts —AGF

Suspected terrorists arrested while attempting to escape into Cameroon through Taraba and Gumti, Adamawa State.

By Ben Agande & Ruth Akwubo

ABUJA — The Attorney General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami, said yesterday that convicted members of the Boko Haram sect in the country could not  be executed because the laws under which they were tried did not prescribe death sentence.

He disclosed this at the launch of amnesty’s report on Global Death Sentences and Executions 2015, in Abuja, yesterday.

The attorney-general, who was represented by Sylvester Imahanobe, also promised to work with Amnesty International to stop executition of convicted criminals in the country, if the international human rights body proposed a bill to that effect.

He said: “Terrorists in Nigeria are tried under the Terrorism Prevention Act which does not carry death penalty. That is why even those Boko Haram members, who have been convicted cannot be executed because the maximum sentence prescribed by the law is life sentence.”

The AGF said he would be pleased to support any bill that came from Amnesty International on the abolition of death sentence in the country,  pointing out that “studies have shown that death penalty has not stopped people from committing crimes.”

Malami revealed that the country was working towards ensuring that the prison system was corrective and not punitive, as it is currently.

Earlier in his remarks, the Country Director of Amnesty International, Mohammed Ibrahim, said there was a “dramatic global rise in the number of executions recorded in 2015 which saw more people put to death than at any point in the last quarter-century.”

He said the surge was largely fuelled by Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which brought the number of people executed worldwide to  1,634 people, a rise of more than 50 per cent on the year before and the highest number Amnesty International had recorded since 1989.