As the Legal year comes to an end, the Court of Appeal once again discharged and acquitted Mr. Ganiyu Wahab, a death row inmate after 11years in prison.

Mr. Ganiyu Wahab was arrested on the 23rd day of January, 2005 on the allegation of murder and subsequently convicted and sentenced to death on the 2nd day of July 2007 in a judgment delivered by Honorable Justice Oluwayemi of the Lagos High Court.

The case against Mr Ganiyu Wahab at the High Court was that he murdered one Kolawole Lateef Alaran on the 23rd day of January 2005 by stabbing him with a broken bottle. It was alleged that the murder took place at the Agboyi area of Lagos State. At the end of the trial, the lower court found him guilty and sentenced him to death.

Following the appeal against his conviction and sentence, filed by the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), a panel of Justices presided by Honourable Justice Abimbola Osarugue Obaseki- Adejumo of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division on the 13th of July 2016 unanimously allowed the appeal of the Appellant and set aside his conviction and sentence to death in an erudite judgment.

The Honourable Court in considering the appeal resolved all issues raised in favour of the Appellant. In its decision, the court found that the conviction of the Appellant on the evidence of the 1st Prosecution Witness who was the only eye witness called and the confessional statement of the Appellant were erroneous as both evidences contained different facts.  The court further held that the Prosecution failed to proof his case beyond reasonable doubt.

According to his lawyer, Chino Obiagwu; “this is another opportunity to re-iterate our calls for an in-depth re-evaluation and urgent overhauling of our Criminal Justice System, especially as it relates to the use of capital punishment. We cannot continue to be sentencing innocent persons to death, only for the appeal court to upturn the judgment after a decade or more”.

LEDAP uses this medium to call on the Nigeria government to reconsider its stand on the use of capital punishment by abolishing the use of death penalty and replacing same with life imprisonment.

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