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Bala Mohammed: Why some governors are reluctant to sign death warrants

BY Ayodele Oluwafemi


Bala Mohammed, governor of Bauchi, says he will soon start to sign death warrants.

Mohammed spoke on Friday in Bauchi while signing the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill and a bill for the establishment of the Bauchi state penal code, into law.

In Nigeria, state governors are legally backed to sign the death warrants.

Since 2012, no governor has been reported to have signed death warrants.


In July, Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, called on governors to sign death warrants in order to decongest prisons.

However, many civil society organisations (CSOs) had disagreed with minister, saying death penalty should be replaced with long-term imprisonment.

Speaking on the death warrants, the Bauchi governor said some governors are refusing to sign on the basis of the possibility of erroneously condemning a person to death.


“We will soon be signing some death sentences because there are many and because of justice which has to be taken to a logical conclusion,” NAN quoted the governor as saying.

“I know some governors are running away from signing the death sentences because they exercise restraints on the basis that there may be some element of error.

“But to me, I will leave it to my lord (the chief judge) who will prosecute. It’s not my fault. If it is brought to my attention, I will do it.”

“As for the Violence against Persons Prohibition Act, we know that we are the first in the northern part of the country to enact the law, which is a member’s bill incidentally from the honourable speaker, and it has earned us a lot of respect in the country.


“But because of some noticed gaps, it was taken back and it was corrected. We thank the house for making the corrections.”

Meanwhile, Mohammed’s comment comes amid the recent position by Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano, who had promised to sign the death warrant of a suspect if the latter was convicted for killing a five-year-old in the state.

A high court in Kano state had, in July, sentenced Abdulmalik Tanko, the self-confessed killer of Hanifa Abubakar, the five-year-old girl, to death.

It is, however, not clear if the convict appealed the court’s decision.

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