THE European Union Delegation in Nigeria has appealed to Federal Government to reconsider cases of people on death row in the country.
It urged Nigeria to commute or, where appropriate, pardon the death sentences of many death row prisoners.
The body, in a statement, argued that such magnanimity would help enhance respect for human life.
EU, which was reacting to the recent pardon granted to Moses Akatugba by former Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, said such a gesture would avoid the harsh and irreversible consequences, if it was later discovered that there was a miscarriage of justice.
The statement reads: “The pardon of Moses Akatugba – sentenced to death for an offence committed when he was 16 years old – by outgoing governor is a commendable decision and significant step forward for Nigerian justice and the human rights of its citizens.
“The EU and its member states oppose the death penalty. We commend the Governor of Delta State for his actions in this case; and appeal to the Nigerian authorities to commute or, where appropriate, to pardon the death sentences of the many death row prisoners across the country.”
The 24-year-old Akatugba was sentenced to death by execution for stealing three phones eight years ago and has spent eight years in prison. He was 16 years when he committed the offence.
The decision to pardon him was made known shortly after the last executive meeting of the governor at the Government House, Asaba, the state capital, on May 28.
Aside granting pardon to Akatugba, Uduaghan also commuted death sentences of three others to various terms of imprisonment.