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About 3,298 inmates are on death row across Nigeria- NCOS

The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) has revealed that 3,298 inmates across the custodial centres in Nigeria are on death row, constituting about 4.5% of the total number of inmates. The term ‘condemned criminal’ has been abrogated and replaced with a more friendly term of ‘Inmates on Death Row (IDR)’ with the emergence of the NCoS Act 2019, which made the prisons correctional centres. Death sentences are not always carried out immediately they are imposed, as there are often long periods of uncertainty for the convicted while their cases are being appealed at higher levels. Some offenders have been executed more than 15 years after their convictions.


According to Mr Abubakar Umar, the Public Relations Officer of NCoS, some IDRs have been in custody for many years, and many of them committed capital offences like culpable homicide, armed robbery, terrorism, among others. However, the NCoS engages all of them in activities that will reform and modify their behaviours. They undergo personal development programmes like anger management, civic education, as well as entrepreneurship. Some of them, who do well and show some glimpse of hard work, industry, and discipline, are recommended for clemency to the relevant authorities.


Many IDRs had been executed in the past before the proliferation of the activities of human rights groups and organizations. However, currently, there is somewhat a kind of moratorium on the execution of offenders. Before the moratorium on execution of IDRs became widespread, executions of IDRs were being carried out as and when due. But with the rising activities of human rights groups, many governments shy away from signing the death warrants of these offenders. The last execution of IDRs was carried out in 2016 in Edo.


Mr Umar encourages state governors who shy away from signing the death warrants to commute them into other sanctions, as this will ensure that the toga of death is removed from them. It will also help to properly manage them smoothly.

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