The Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi has said that her comments on the death penalty being contemplated by the Senate for hate speech was taken out of context.
Recall that Obi while speaking at a rally to mark this year’s Anti-Corruption Day, had posed a question on why the death penalty was not being proposed against corrupt officials responsible for rising inequality and entrenching poverty in the country.
However, the comment was misunderstood and reported by some section of the media to mean support for death penalty.
In a press statement issued by ActionAid on Thursday, Obi stated that neither herself nor ActionAid was in support of death penalty for any reason.
The statement read: “To mark Anti-Corruption Day, ActionAid Nigeria’s Country Director Ene Obi spoke out at an event in Abuja to condemn the “stealing of mind-boggling amounts of public resources”.
“Ene called on all Nigerians to hold duty bearers to account and ask questions of politicians and public sector workers, to ensure accountability and transparency at all levels of government.
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“As the Nigerian Senate considers the death penalty for ‘hate speech’, in a dangerous attack on freedom of expression, she sought to ask a rhetorical question about why such harsh punishments were not being considered for the corrupt officials responsible for rising inequality and entrenching poverty.
“Speaking to clarify her statement today, she said: “My comments were meant to illustrate the hypocrisy in how the proposed laws might be applied but were taken out of context.
“Neither I, nor ActionAid, support the death penalty under any circumstances, and we stand against violence in any form.
“My statement should not be seen in any way as an endorsement of the Nigerian parliament’s position on the use of capital punishment, which needs to be reviewed as Nigeria is one of the few countries that retains the death penalty. I apologise if the misunderstanding has caused unintended interpretations.
“Corruption in Nigeria has eaten too deep into our national social fabrics such that it has become endemic. I call on all Nigerians to stand upright against corruption and
“I feel passionately about the need for our justice system to work better to root out corruption and hold those responsible to account.”