Nigeria News

Death Penalty: I Stand by the Constitution, Says Oshiomhole

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has said he would apply fully the Nigerian Constitution, which he subscribed to and not the laws of a European country or the whims of some activists.

The governor, who said the international community cannot dictate to Nigeria on which values it should adhere to, said there was so much hypocrisy by the international community on the issue of human rights.

Speaking in Abuja, at a one-day seminar on the “Role of the Public Complaints Commission in a Democratic Government in Nigeria,” Oshiomhole said Nigeria as a sovereign nation had a right to define its own national values.

According to him, “Nigeria is a sovereign nation and we have a right to define what we regard as our own national values.  No national interest is defined by others.  As we speak, nations and humans are involved in the battle of ideas on the basis of different value system and it will be abuse of my own value system if someone chooses to assume that his values are superior to my values.”

Oshiomhole said: “I am part of the international community and my views should carry as much weight as the views of any other person in the same international community and where we have not counted the votes, we cannot assume that the views from London are shared by Abuja.”

The governor declared: “As a Catholic, I am more fanatical about the sanctity of life.  The foundation for human rights is the rule of law, not rule of resolution, not rule of communiqué; not rules of recommendations.

“When I was sworn in, I subscribed to the oath that I shall subscribe to the oath that I shall obey the Constitution of Nigeria.  There is no suggestion that I shall obey the UN or resolution of the European Union that has not been domesticated by the Nigerian government.  I do understand that there is no such thing as universal values."

He further argued that Nigerian values are not less elegant, less human and, therefore, not less acceptable.

“In trying to understand how best to protect the sanctity of human life, if you carry out an act and you confess to it, you shall go.  You have no right to tell me that your values are superior to mine,” he said.

The governor decried the activities of some Nigerians, who parrot some of those values that were offensive to the culture and tradition of the African people.

Citing the same sex marriage as one of the offensive laws of the European Union, Oshiomhole said: “Now they are canvassing the same sex marriage.  If they think it is right to marry a man in the West and we think it is a crime to marry a man in Africa, African values are superior to European values and we have to push for them to interrogate their own values.”

The governor noted that more than half of the states in the United States still subscribed to death penalty, stressing that: “We have not heard the European Union say anything about them. He advised the international community to recognise that Nigeria is part of the European community and they cannot give  us orders or insist that we act according to their orders.”

The governor noted that democracy offers space for those who are not satisfied to complain and urge that necessary machinery be put in place to empower the public complaints commission to function effectively.

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