As part of measures to decongest prisons across the country, a prison evangelist and aspiring state lawmaker, Mrs Adekemi Felicia Opatunde, has called on the state governors withholding assent to death warrants of condemned criminals to release the warrants and let the criminals sentenced to death face their judgements.
Mrs. Opatunde, who eyes the Akinyele State Constituency 11 in the Oyo State House of Assembly under the banner of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 general elections said there should be no sentiment in dealing with offenders deserving of capital punishment while speaking with journalists at the launch of Initiative for Social and Community Value Enhancement International, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) held at Ikolaba, Ibadan.
Among the activities of the NGO according to the initiator and president, Mr. Abiodun Olusola are rehabilitation of ex-convicts, catering for the aged, the sick, the disabled, advancement of education, provision of facilities in the interest of social welfare, establishment of community centre and promotion of culture and traditions of the people both at home and abroad.
The woman politician, who currently serves the governor of Oyo State, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi as his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Community Relations said no nation could rise beyond its level of fairness, equity and justice, noting that whoever commits crime and the courts adjudge him or her for death should face the prescribed penalty.
She explained that the idea of bringing religion into such matters could not be explained as there should not be a confusion of religion with the state of the law, adding, “religion is very clear about offence and punishment and none of our religions supports a man or woman killing a fellow human being.
“In the Old Testament in the Bible, the injunction is so clear that whoever kills by the sword shall die by the sword and even, in the New Testament, to show that God disapproves of a person killing a fellow being is the creation of heaven and hell by God Himself. Anybody that is found under the law to have killed deserves no mercy”, she added.
While exonerating her boss by stressing that she was aware that the current administration in the state had ordered the hanging of an offender as directed by a court judgement, she maintained that leadership position “is not meant for a lily-livered person, but a person of courage and consequence”.
Recounting her experience through prison evangelism, she admitted to the fact that a lot of people suffer unjustly through lack of diligence prosecution on the part of the investigating personnel, mostly the Investigation Police Officers.
“I’m not a lawyer and I don’t claim to be one, but, I’m sufficiently aware and informed that a lot of cases are lost from the process of investigation through loss of evidence, suppression of facts and other malpractices on the part of the investigators”, she noted.
To, however, redress the situation, the woman politician charged that the country needs more people to be patriotic, especially in the area of justice dispensation, saying, “we need to a have a rethink on our judicial system towards attaining a level of judicious discharge of justice for equity and fairness”.
On her ambition, the aspiring lawmaker said her coming into politics is not only to satisfy her personal ambition but to also encourage other women to be passionate about politics towards driving women and family issues so as to generally improve the society.