The EU Heads of Mission deeply regret the execution of three Nigerian prisoners on 23 December 2016 authorized by the Edo state government. The EU underlines the universality of human rights including the right to life and opposes the death penalty in all circumstances. It is a cruel punishment which fails to act as a deterrent of serious crime, and any miscarriage of justice – which is inevitable in any legal system – is irreversible. The EU notes that a de facto moratorium on the death penalty has been in place in Nigeria since 2006, though this moratorium was also broken in 2013 with executions in Edo state. The EU would urge the Nigerian authorities to uphold the moratorium on the death penalty at a Federal and State level, and to take steps to accede to and ratify the second protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights leading ultimately to the abolition of the death penalty in Nigeria.
In Abuja, on 31 January 2017