The gravest offence that can be committed by a person in Nigeria is referred to as a capital offence. According to the Collins Dictionary, Capital offence refers to a crime for which the death penalty is used as a punishment.
The the death penalty is recognised and authorised by Section 33 of the Nigerian Constitution which states that every person has a right to life, and no one shall be de- prived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, there are certain offences that attract a death penalty. They include:
2. Armed Robbery
4. Fabricating false evidence leading to the conviction of death of an innocent person
5. Conspiracy to commit treason
6. Aiding the suicide of an innocent child or a lunatic.
In previous times, when a person committed any of these offences and was found guilty, he was sentenced by the court. Notorious robbers like Ishola Oyenusi, Lawrence Anini, Babatunde Folorunso and others were sentenced to death, and it was duly meted out.
The methods of meting out the death penalty usually varied depending on the type of the offence committed. Death by lethal injection or hanging were used for the offences of murder, treason, conspiracy to commit treason, and others with the exception of armed robbery. In cases of armed robbery, the offenders faced death by a firing squad.
According to Wikipedia, the last executions in Nigeria occured in 2016 where three men were hanged for the offences of murder and armed robbery. Although after this period many other criminals have been sentenced by courts however, none of these sentences have been carried out.
According to Vanguard, Nigeria’s death row prison inmate population presently stands at 3008 out of the total 68,747 prison population.
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