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Abolition of capital punishment: I believe an eye should be for an eye – Ijaodola

Barr Prince Joshua Oluwaseun Ijaodola is an Offa born legal practitioner who is currently based in Ilorin. He is an alumnus of University of Ilorin, where he graduated with a degree in law in 2011.

He proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos Campus, where he bagged his B.L and was called to the Bar in 2012.

He is currently the Principal Partner at Ijaodola & Co, a legal firm he inherited from his late father who was also a foremost legal luminary and the first Northern Nigerian lawyer to bag a masters degree in law, he, Prince Oluwaseun has since continued to soldier on to maintain his father’s legacy since 2013.

In this interview with JIMOH SULYMAN, Prince Ijaodola bares his thoughts about calls for Abolition of Death Sentence. Excerpt.

From all over the globe, there are calls that death sentence should be abolished, do you think it is right for our judicial system to do so?

It has both its merits and demerits, the standard of prove is that, prove beyond reasonable doubt, not prove beyond all doubt, someone might be wrongly convicted and executed whereby years after their conviction and execution, the truth will come to open, we have seen a lot of that happening, even in United States of America, is that just on the part of those wrongly executed? No, an apex court injunction in 2005, states that it is better for a hundred criminal to escape than for just a single innocent person to be unjustly punished.

If someone is given life imprisonment and later the truth later exonerated the person, it will be easy to free the person, although the years lost can’t be brought back, but it can be ameliorated in damages paid.

But someone that has been killed, when the truth finally comes out to prove the person’s innocence there is nothing that can be done to correct it and it will continue to be traumatic and agonizing memory for the family of the person.

That is the benefit of abolition of capital punishment; it can be substituted with life imprisonment of some years.

In another guise, some hardened criminals might not mind, because their minds are made up already, for instance, someone that can’t control his/her anger, might not mind the consequence of serving jail term and they know in the long run they might get state pardon, so the abolition might encourage such people.

Do you think forgiving a murderer will in anyway betray the essence of justice?

Well, we have different schools of thought when it comes to punishment, some are reformative while some are punitive.

For the reformative, there is a belief that someone that did evil today might do good tomorrow and he might be remorseful and become an asset to the society.

In another vein, some people will never change, they are out of the prison, they start from where they left off, so it not a straight answer, it very dynamic, depending on the individual differences of the convicts, but will that be justice to the dead? No, when you killed someone in cold blood and you’re spared, that is just, I’m of the belief that an eye should be for an eye.

Do you think the abolishment will encourage future criminals?

Yes, like I said many people wouldn’t mind because they know they will come back at some point while some people can’t even stand being named as a mere defendant in a criminal charge.

Do it can be some sort of encouragement people who do not mind prison time, so that is one of the disadvantages of state pardon and the power of the Attorney General to take over and discontinue a matter with no recourse to the Court, for a court to decide whether it’s in the interest of the state or not.

With clamours from many quarters, do you think the punishment for rape should be a death sentence or life imprisonment?

There have been many instances of women actually making false accusations of rape for reasons known to them and such a person has already committed a crime according to section 157, 166 of the Penal code.

But the point is, some people are actually raping women, but you see the purpose of punishment is to prevent others from committing similar crime, if the punishment is capital in nature, someone who wish to continue seeing his family, won’t try to be involved in such act.

Like I said, it has its merits and demerits, because when someone has been wrongly accused of rape and the person had been executed as they’re calling for, when it later become clear that the person is innocent, how can it be rectified.

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