Senate urges halt to Nigeria, UK prisoner swap deal
EU condemns planned execution of convicts in Lagos
The Senate has enjoined the Federal Government to stop receiving prisoners from the United Kingdom (UK) under the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (TSP).
The upper chamber, which based its decision on the need to regularise the pact, therefore, invited the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami and his Foreign Affairs counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama, to shed more light on the swap deal with regard to the agreement between the two countries for further legislative action.
They are to appear before the joint Senate committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, and Foreign Affairs, which was directed to report back to the Red Chamber in one month.
The resolutions followed a motion sponsored by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu (PDP, Enugu West).The Senate also directed the committees to invite the Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau (rtd), to brief them on his level of involvement in complying with the agreement.
Ekweremadu said: “Based on this agreement, the UK government has commenced the return of several prisoners to Nigeria, and has currently initiated the application for the transfer of more prisoners.
“The United Kingdom government has referred to this agreement as compulsory, whereas the content of the agreement made no mention nor indicated that the agreement was compulsory.”
In another development, the European Union (EU) has expressed concern over the proposed execution of convicts in Lagos State, describing death penalty as cruel, degrading and inhumane punishment.
It also condemned the execution of three Nigerian prisoners in December 2016, authorised by the Edo State government.Head of European Union delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Michel Arrion, who spoke yesterday in his office, said the union maintained that death penalty could never serve as deterrent to criminal behaviours. He added that rather, death penalty represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.
Arrion, who noted that while the EU supports the application of sentences that follow due process, however, reaffirmed the body’s long-standing opposition to death penalty in all circumstances.
He, therefore, called on state governors as well as Nigerian authorities at the federal level to uphold the moratorium on death penalty.Arrion described as unfortunate the increasing number of victims of smuggling and trafficking in human beings as well as those who lose their lives regularly while attempting to enter Europe illegally.He said that in as much as Europe needs migrants, people should do so in a legal manner.