Man freed after 11 years on death row

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has discharged and acquitted one Ganiyu Wahab, who had spent 11 years on death row.

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Wahab was arraigned for murder at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, and subsequently sentenced to death on July 2, 2007.

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He was accused of killing one Kolawole Lateef Alaran on January 23, 2005 by stabbing him with a broken bottle in the Agboyi area of Lagos.

He was discharged following an appeal against his conviction by the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP).

The judgment delivered by a panel led by Justice Abimbola Osarugue Obaseki-Adejumo on July 13 set aside his conviction and death sentence.

The court held that Wahab’s conviction was based on the evidence of the only one eyewitness called, adding that the confessional statements of the accused person were erroneous as both evidences contained different facts.

The court also held that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Wahab’s lawyer, Chino Obiagwu said: “This is another opportunity to reiterate 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 sentence innocent persons to death, only for the appeal court to upturn the judgment after a decade or more.”

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