A human rights group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), on Wednesday hailed the suspension of the execution of two Nigerians on death-row in the Gambian.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports the two Nigerians, Micheal Ifunanya and Stanley Agbaeze, were among the 38 death-row inmates in the Gambia that were scheduled for execution.
The Executive Director, SERAP, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, told NAN that the suspension of the execution on September 15 by President Yahya Jammah was a welcome development.
Mumuni said SERAP had through its lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, filed a suit against the Gambian Government at the ECOWAS Court in Abuja, asking the court to halt the execution.
According to him, the organisation also wrote a petition to President Goodluck Jonathan, urging him to intervene in the plight of the Nigerians.
He said:”I am aware that the ECOWAS court has not given any order to that effect.
“However, they are bound to hold on because the case is already in court and all parties are expected to maintain the status quo.”
Mumuni also attributed the suspension to pressure from the Nigerian Government, noting that the two Nigerians were not given fair hearing by the Gambian authorities.
“SERAP deeply believes that people should be ready to face the consequences of their actions, but they should also be given the right to fair hearing and the right to appeal,” he argued.
Mumuni said the Gambian parliament had not passed any memorandum endorsing the execution of the Nigerians, as required by Section 81 of the constitution of that country.
He said the government’s plan to execute all death-row inmates, including the two Nigerians, was therefore unconstitutional and a violation of their rights to life.