“God can have mercy on them, but I am unable having regard to the overall circumstances of the case, namely, killing and dismembering the body of your victim and wanting to sell some of the parts and you ask me in the name of human rights, let him live.”
Those were the words of Edo state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole regarding the fate of two death row convicts, Daniel Nsofor and Osayinwinde Agbomien, who are presently at the centre of an international human rights campaign to have their execution commuted to life jail terms following the governor’s assent to their execution and affirmation of their guilt by the Supreme Court.
While Nsofor was convicted on June 19, 1996 for torturing his female victim and killing her, Agbomien was found guilty of robbing, killing and dismembering the body parts of his own victim.
Oshiomhole noted: “I am convinced that those people need to die. In the interest of society they need to die under the law. The rule of law is different from resolutions by some NGOs and nations are not governed by NGO resolutions.
“As a governor, I subscribed to an oath of office which says that I shall obey the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including all laws without fear or favour. I cannot be afraid to sign the death warrant of a man who has been found guilty of murder.
“I have no apologies, I didn’t sentence them to death. I am not the one who accused them, they were accused by those they harassed. They have been tried, they have taken advantage of the appellate courts all the way to the Supreme Court of the land and they were found guilty. The law also says that having been found guilty and sentenced to death, the governor could exercise prerogative of mercy, but I say that I have no mercy on those who kill. Why should you compel me to have mercy on those who kill,” he asked rhetorically.
“We must have a balanced view of human rights in which the rights, not only of the man they killed, but the right of his relations and much more importantly, to send a clear message to would be murderers, that when you kill a human being and you are caught, you are likely to die. If you don’t want to die, then abstain from killing. If criminals abstain from killing, fewer people would be killed by robbers and other murderers and that is the truth.
“If you tell me that the man killed and has a right to life, I refuse that. Amnesty should not be hypocritical about it, we have the records worldwide. Nations are governed by their national values and it is debatable whether those who excuse murderers in the eyes of God whether they are better human beings than those who insist that ‘if you kill that you too should be killed if found guilty of killing’.
“The second person was a man who killed a woman. He robbed the woman, raped the woman and killed her. And then he was found guilty of this offence by the Supreme Court of Nigeria and you tell me, though he has killed, let him live. I say no. If he has killed, let him die too. I am not the one who says he should die, it is the law.
“All I have done is that the law says I should sign and I have obeyed the law by signing because even the government is under the law.”
Governor Oshiomhole, however, recalled that in the past, he had exercised the prerogative of mercy on some other convicts who did not kill in the course of their activities.