The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has said the judiciary appearing to be firming up in its responsibility to dispense justice against criminalities as two former police officers involved the killing of 2 of six Igbo traders in, APO Quarters, Abuja in 2005 (APO six) were sentenced for culpable homicide.
Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman, who spoke on behalf of the Centre in an initial reaction to the sentencing, expressed mixed feelings, he said, “although this is great news given that justice has finally been dispensed as it concerns 2 of the killer cops, we as an organization have been always been part of the advocacy for the eradication of death penalties as a punitive.”
“It is a laudable achievement after almost 12 years of continuous adjournments in the face of the unimaginable trauma of families of the victims while investigations and an unnecessarily prolonged prosecution. That justice has finally prevailed with the conviction of the two policemen; Ezekiel Acheneje and Emmanuel Baba of the APO killings earlier today is welcomed. However, even though the county’s constitution permits death penalties for some criminal acts, we contend that it has not proven to be the best punitive anywhere in the world.”
“This is because offences for which death penalties applied have really decreased the number of occurrences of such crimes. This indicates that hardly does death penalty deter criminals. Instead, we have always recommended maximum of life imprisonment where convicts could be of use to themselves and the society while paying for their crimes behind the prison walls.”
The CACOL Chairman said that in a country like Nigeria particularly where judgments are very susceptible to miscarriage, it is highly possible for innocent persons to be put to death only for the truth to emerge after the penalty had been applied. “We should understand that humans can change in life and should be given the chance to start again if they become genuinely penitent or remorseful.”
“We however salute the courage of this Judge; Justices Ishaq Bello in the dispensation of his duties as well as the Judiciary as a body, there have been recent cases of fairness and uprightness in recent rulings just as we saw in the case of the former governor of Adamawa State, Musa Ngilari who was sentenced to five year imprisonment by Justice Nathan Musa after been trialed and found guilty of conspiracy to award contract with N167, 812,500 for the purchase of 25units of operational official vehicles for the State without compliance to due process.”