February 18, 2015 – Lagos State Government today said it will retain death penalty in the laws of Lagos State to serve as deterrence against violent crimes, such as murder and armed robbery.
Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Mr. Ade Ipaye who made the revelation said the decision is based on survey carried out in the state.
“Following several abolition campaigns and international advocacy which were addressed to the Lagos State Government in particular as the pace setter in justice sector reforms, the State Executive Council considered the proposition to abolish or retain the death penalty in the Lagos State Common Law.
“In taking its decision, the state commissioned an empirical research that surveyed the perception of Lagos residents and elicited their opinion on the abolition debate, including the question whether they believe the death penalty currently deters violent crime.
“The objective and outcome of the survey is therefore to inform the development of a state policy on capital punishment that relies on empirical evidence and is based on consultation with citizens and justice sector stakeholders.
“The survey was undertaken in two categories: public survey (random selection of 2,000 members of the public) and the experts’ survey (selected 100 persons who have close contact with the criminal justice process and systems).”
Ipaye added that over half of the respondents (51.1 percent) advised Lagos State Government to execute convicts on the death row while only 38. 5 percent maintained otherwise. 9.7 percent were undecided while 0.8 percent did not proffer any opinion.
“Whilst 61.9 percent of the respondents believed that the death penalty is a necessary retributive tool, as much as 59 percent opined that the death penalty does not bring a sense of happiness to the family of the victim(s). A majority of the respondents (67.2 percent) however recommended that Lagos State should retain the death penalty.”
According to him, the study found that gender, age and religion play important roles in understanding the orientation of Lagos residents on the issue of capital punishment.
“Hence while majority of the people support death penalty across the socio-demographics, more males, older people and less religious people support the death penalty.
“Majority of the respondents surveyed supported the use of the death penalty in Lagos State. The survey also revealed that over 54 percent of the respondents advised the Lagos State Government to execute convicts on death row.
“A large number of respondents also believed that the death penalty is a necessary retributive tool and a majority of the respondents recommended that the state should retain death penalty because it serves positive retributive and deterrence purposes.”
In the light of the results of the perceptions and expert survey the Attorney General affirmed that,” the state Executive Council adopted the position that the death penalty should be retained in the Criminal Law of Lagos State to serve as a deterrence against violent crimes, such as Murder and Armed Robbery.”