Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has called for the abolition of death sentence in Nigeria, stressing that the focus should be on reforming criminals and not killing.
Okowa made the call in Asaba when he received members of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy led by Mr William Alo.
Okowa insisted that Nigeria had grown beyond the point where emphasis would be on capital punishment, stressing that the focus should be on reforming those who have committed various degrees of offences or crimes.
“We need to ask ourselves if death sentence is still relevant in our society? In many states, many Governors are not ready to sign the death warrant.
“Why are they not signing the death warrant? The world is moving away from death sentence,” he said.
While decrying the overpopulation of Nigerian prisons, Governor Okowa urged the Federal Government to improve on the facilities in the prisons.
“We need to evolve measures that will make Nigerian Prisons to be truly reformatory centres, so that ex-convicts can be better citizens.
“There is no doubt that most of our prisons are crowded, even in Delta State; there is the need to have reforms that will change the mind of the prisoners for them to be useful to the society.
“I pray that the committee keeps this advocacy on what to do to carry out reforms to make prisoners come out as better persons.
“We need to make them see life differently and acquire skills to live better lives after imprisonment. We need to have a total rethink to carry out a total reformation of prisoners because if we reform their lives and not provide accompanying skills, many of them will return to their old ways,” he stressed.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Alo had said they were on advocacy visit to prisons in the state, adding that it was important for suggestions to be made on how to improve on the services in the Nigerian Prisons.