The Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) has appealed to state governors to intervene in the management of the over 2,500 inmates on death row by approving their execution or commuting their sentence to life imprisonment.
The public relations officer of the NPS, Mr Francis Enobore, who made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja, said the governors’ action was needed towards decongesting the prisons.
According to him, condemned convicts have been a big issue in the Nigerian Prison Service and it has been difficult to deal with the issue.
“Before now, a prison might have 500 condemned convicts and, of course, that can be managed, but a situation where you have more than that, then it becomes an issue.
“Presently, over 2,500 condemned convicts are in prisons. Some of them have exhausted their appeals and are only awaiting the hangman. This issue has caused deep anger among them; they have become hardened and difficult to control.
“You greet some of them, they won’t even respond. You try to make them not feel discouraged in life, they see you as a threat, ” he said.
Enobore noted that the condemned convicts were different from those awaiting trial who could be taken to court anytime, adding that the state governors need to sign the death warrants because some of them had become difficult to manage.
According to him, governors could also commute some sentences to life imprisonment so that the beneficiaries of such gesture would have hope of living to become better persons in the future.
“As they are, they can’t go to school while in prison and they can’t even partake in skill acquisition, but if the appeal is granted, it would enable them to go to school while in prison or have skills in any field.
“This would give them hope of becoming better people in the nearest future, ” Enobore said.