A Nigerian court sentenced to death on Monday a police officer convicted of murdering a pregnant female lawyer on Christmas Day in 2022, likely triggering a discussion about the death penalty in Africa’s most populous country.
According to Amnesty International, Nigeria has at least 3,000 individuals on death row, but executions remain infrequent, prompting some rights groups to urge for the abolition of the capital penalty.
In January, the Lagos State High Court ordered the arrest of police officer Drambi Vandi, who was accused of killing Bolanle Raheem, who was pregnant with twins, at close range.
Vandi rejected the charge, claiming that the bullet used as evidence in court did not come from his gun.
“The court found the defendant guilty on one count of murder. You will be hanged by the neck till you are dead,” judge Ibironke Harrison said.
Vandi has the right to appeal the sentence, and the governor of Lagos must approve the death penalty.
For years, human rights organisations have accused Nigerian police and other law enforcement agencies of murders, extortion, torture, and harassment, which the authorities deny.
Three years ago, demonstrators claimed that police and soldiers opened fire during a rally against police brutality, despite the fact that both security services denied firing live ammunition.