Sunday , June 16 2024

Onigbanjo: Why Sanwo-Olu may not sign death warrant of condemned criminals

….Says 7,500 inmates on awaiting trail in Lagos correctional homes
….Mobile Court convicts 62,477 in one year

Indication has emerged that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is not likely to sign death warrant of any  criminal sentenced to death throughout his tenure as the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo(SAN) said that killing of condemned criminals no longer serve as deterrent to others.

The Attorney-General who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said that globally, killing of condemned criminals is no longer in vogue as the act of taking lives of those who committed murder or sentenced to death by the court doesn’t deter the crime from being perpetrated by other criminals.

Reacting to questions on the the state government’s plan on the criminals already convicted and sentenced to death by the courts at the ongoing ministerial press briefing at the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, Onigbanjo said that experts are divided over execution of criminal as punishment for murder, adding that evidences are bound that criminals are no longer deterred by the death of their fellow criminals whose lives were taken for committing a crime.

He said that despite the lynching of thieves by the perpetrators of jungle justice,  more thieves still commit stealing while crimes are still prevalent in the countries where criminals are killed for committing crimes.
He said:” All over of the world, there are two camps: people who believe that death or killing people is not a deterrent to crim. So, go and look at the state where people are killed, crime are still prevalent. During the military regime in Nigeria, people were shot at the Bar beach on a live television. If you catch Oshodi today and you probably lynch him, do you think other thieves will not steal the next day?”
He said that could not say if Governor Sanwo-Olu would sign the death warrant since it is the prerogative of the governor to decide the signing of the warrant.
“I’m not so sure whether killing serve as deterrent.  As to whether Lagos State governor will sign the death warrant or not, Mr Governor owns that prerogative and he is the only one that can answer the question on death warrant signing,” he added.

On the number of the person inmates awaiting trials especially in the wake of COVID-19,  Onigbanjo said that  7,500 are awaiting trial inmates in Lagos. He added that 51 of them were convicted 11 were condemned.

 Onigbanjo  also aid that the Mobile Courts in the state within a year, arrested, arraigned and convicted 62,477 traffic offenders, adding that during the period under review,  62,477 persons had faced the law over various traffic offences such as the use of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane, street trading, driving against traffic, willful obstruction as well as violation of the COVID-19 Regulations.

“The Mobile Courts sits on Saturdays at different locations across the state and deals largely with violators of COVID-19 Regulations,” he said.

According to Onigbanjo, the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had also issued 954 Legal Advice during the time frame.

“The DPP is currently prosecuting 1,860 cases at the High Courts and  Magistrate Courts including 10 offenders who have been so far charged over attacks on officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA).

“The Community Service Unit of the DPP during the review period (April 2020 – April 2021), also supervised 557 community service sentences.

“The community service sentences were for street trading, loitering, fighting and environmental offences,” he said.

The Attorney-General noted that the Directorate of Civil Litigation had obtained 18 rulings and 34 judgments in favour of the Lagos State Government.

He said that the Directorate had helped the state government reduce contingent liabilities with suits worth N95 billion being dismissed by the courts.

Citing an example of such cases, Onigbanjo said the Federal High Court on February 3, 2021 in Olukoya Ogungbeje v Lagos State Government and 7 Others, affirmed the position of the state government restricting the the use of motorcycles and tricycles as a means of transportation on specific routes within the six Local Government Areas and 9 Local Development Areas in the state.