By Jimitota Onoyume
THE Federal Government has been urged to abolish capital punishment and detention of lunatics in the country.
Making the appeal, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Executive Director, Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants, CURE, Nigeria, Mr Sylvester Uhaa and Pastor Ray Chuks Afujue said research had shown that the capital punishment does not deter others from crime.
The group said the right to life should be seen as sacrosanct, stressing that taking another person’s life was “barbaric, brutish and the highest act of violence.”
Continuing, the group said about three percent of the total population of 74,508 prison inmates in the country are on death row.
“The number of death row inmates stands at 2,264 representing 3 percent of the prison population of 74,508. We condemn calls from some quarters for the execution of these people. Also, we want to emphasise that the right to life is sacrosanct and neither the state nor an individual has the right to take it,” the group said.
The group said the nation had continued to violate the Mandela rules that mentally ill persons should not be admitted into prisons. “Nigeria has continued to detain lunatics in our prisons. Recent statistics show that there are 76 of them in Aba prison, 12 in Sokoto prison and 57 males and females in Enugu prison. There are others in other prisons and detention centres across the country including NDLEA, detention centres. These people are unfit to stand trial and one wonders what they are doing in detention,” he said.
It further urged government to move them to treatment and rehabilitation centres rather than leave them in prisons.