COMMON ERRORS IN ENGLISH (by ABEL OLANIYI)

     This aspect is aimed at exposing errors that the average Nigerian commits in their day-today spoken and written English. Also, efforts are made here at providing the correct forms and usage of these expressions.

Joseph’s shirt is rough (Incorrect)
Joseph’s shirt is rumpled (Correct)

Silas owns a barbing salon (Incorrect)
Silas owns a barbershop (Correct)

My Landlord gave me a Quit Notice (Incorrect)
My Landlord gave me a notice to quit (Correct)

The musician, Timi Dakolo is a popular artist (Incorrect)
The musician, Timi Dakolo is a popular artiste (Correct)

Tell the gateman to open the gate (Incorrect)
Tell the gatekeeper to open the gate (Correct)

I will go to the chemist to buy a packet of paracetamol (Incorrect)
I will go to the pharmacy to buy a packet of paracetamol (Correct)

I have apollo (Incorrect)
I am suffering from conjunctivitis (Correct)

Rooney disvirgined my younger sister last year (incorrect)
Rooney deflowered my younger sister last year (Correct)

N5000 is chickenchange compared to what I need (Incorrect)
N5000 is chickenfeed compared to what I need (Correct)

Her father offered us a variety of hot drinks such as whisky and brandy (Incorrect)
Her father offered us a variety of hard drinks such as whisky and brandy (Correct)

Mrs Clinton has k-leg (Incorrect)
Mrs Clinton is knock-kneed (Correct)

The man’s son has bowleg (Incorrect) 
The man’s son is bow-legged (Correct)

I like the chain your sister wore last week (Incorrect) 
I like the necklace your sister wore last week (Correct) 

I am lacking behind in Mathematics (Incorrect)
I am legging behind in Mathematics (Correct)

Adam dashed me some money yesterday (Incorrect)
Adam gave me some money yesterday (Correct) 

See your dictionary for the meaning (Incorrect) 
Look up the words in the dictionary for the meaning (Correct) 

The fish seller refused to sell to me (Incorrect)
The fishmonger refused to sell fish to me (Correct)

Mary was the bestlady at the wedding (Incorrect)
Mary was the bridesmaid at the wedding (Correct)

I cracked my brain but I could not remember his name (Incorrect)
I racked my brain, but I could not remember his name (Correct)

The man fumbled that he will buy a car today (Incorrect)
The man boasted that he will buy a car today (Correct) 

The wake keeping of the Late XYZ will hold at Allen Avenue, Lagos (Incorrect)
The wake of the Late XYZ will hold at Allen Avenue, Lagos (Correct)

He revenged his sister’s assault (Incorrect)
He avenged his sister’s assault (Correct)

My friend is a trickish man (Incorrect)
My friend is a tricky man (Correct)

I am offering Mathematics as a subject (Incorrect)
I am doing Mathematics as a subject (Correct) 

Without mixing words, she accused him of stealing (Incorrect)
Without mincing words, she accused him of stealing (Correct)

Mr Charles is a lecturer, he is an academician (Incorrect)
Mr Charles is a lecturer, he is an academic (Correct)

Major Philip is an army (Incorrect)
Major Philip is a soldier (Correct)

She bought a globe yesterday to light her room (Incorrect)
She bought an electric bulb yesterday to light her room (Correct)

James is a pocketpicker (incorrect)
James is a pickpocket (Correct)

He can’t feed himself, talkless of getting married (Incorrect)
He can’t fend for himself, let alone getting married (Correct). 

Please, repeat yourself. Please come again sir (Incorrect)
I beg your pardon. Please take that again (Correct)

I can’t remember his name off head (Incorrect)
I can’t remember his name off hand (Correct)

Nelson wants to pay the dowry of his wife (Incorrect)
Nelson wants to pay the bride price of his wife (Correct)

The air condition in his office is not good (Incorrect)
The air conditioner in his office is not good (Correct)

I argued the price of beef with the butcher (Incorrect)
I haggled the price of beef with the butcher (Correct)

My shoe is torn. I will call the shoe maker to repair it for me (Incorrect)
My shoe is torn. I will call the cobbler to repair it for me (Correct).
*Please note that the word ‘cobbler’ does not take the inflection ‘s’ otherwise it would mean a foolish talk.

All his dresses were stolen by the thieves (Incorrect)
All his clothes were stolen by the thieves (Correct)

*‘Clothes’ are garments in general, but ‘dresses’ are outer garments for a woman or a girl.  

She suffered a fatal accident and was rushed to the hospital but later recovered (Incorrect).
She suffered a serious accident and was rushed to the hospital but later recovered (Correct).

*‘Fatal’ means ‘resulting in death’, so, since the person recovered, the accident cannot be said to be ‘fatal’.  

The buying of laptops has become rampant in Nigeria (Incorrect)
The buying of laptops has become widespread in Nigeria (Correct)

*‘Rampant’ is only used to describe something one disapproves or is unpleasant.

Stephen is a drunkard; he drinks but never gets drunk (Incorrect)
Stephen is a drinker; he drinks but never gets drunk (Correct)

*A ‘drinker’ is an expert, a professional, someone who drinks but never gets drunk. 


Vincent was shot thrice in the chest (Incorrect)
Vincent was shot three times in the chest (Correct)

*The use of the word ‘thrice’ is archaic and should be avoided

I always try to avoid driving in the rushing hour (Incorrect)
I always try to avoid driving in the rush hour (Correct)

I will drink orange tomorrow (Incorrect)
I will eat orange tomorrow (Correct)

Do you have drinking water? (Incorrect)
Do you have potable/drinkable water? (Correct)

I feel the need to toast her before proposing marriage to her (Incorrect)
I feel the need to woo her before proposing marriage to her (Correct)

The poor girl spoke to me in broking [English] (Incorrect)
The poor girl spoke to me in pidgin [English] (Correct)

I will pay you a visit next tomorrow (Incorrect) 
I will pay you a visit the day after tomorrow (Correct)

Edward came to my house last week Tuesday (Incorrect)
Edward came to my house on Tuesday, last week (Correct)

She used to branch at my place before going home (Incorrect)
She used to call at my place before going home (Correct)

My friend, Linda, is a gossiper (Incorrect)
My friend, Linda, is a gossip (Correct).  

Go and buy me a knockout (Incorrect)
Go and buy a packet of banger for me (Correct)

There is power supply but the current is low (Incorrect) 
There is power supply but the voltage is low (Correct)

We hate drawing water from the well in the morning (Incorrect)
We hate fetching water from the well in the morning (Correct)

I’d like to buy some garden eggs (Incorrect) 
I’d like to buy some egg plants (Correct)

The broken plates are attractive (Incorrect) 
The glass dishes/breakable plates are attractive (Correct)

The girl is fond of proving strong head. I’ll deal with her (Incorrect) 
The girl is headstrong. I’ll deal with her (Correct)

I’m sorry, Jacob. I didn’t have chance to come (Incorrect) 
I’m sorry, Jacob. I didn’t have time to come (Correct)

The exams questions were cheap (Incorrect) 
The exam questions were easy/simple (Correct)

Constant washing of clothes has rumpled my hands (Incorrect) 
Constant washing of clothes has roughened my hands (Correct)

The road is full of gallops (Incorrect) 
The road has potholes (Correct) 

Jack Bauer is fond of making mouth (Incorrect)
Jack Bauer is fond of boasting (Correct)

Some of the area boys have been arrested (Incorrect)
Some of the miscreants have been arrested (Correct)

The black girl is around (Incorrect)
The dark-skinned (or dark-complexioned) girl is around (Correct) 

We ate to our satisfaction (Incorrect)
We ate to our fill (Correct) 

Please, dress the bed for me (Incorrect)
Please, make the bed for me (Correct)

At this junction, we'd like to inform you that AIDS is real (Incorrect)
At this juncture, we'd like to inform you that AIDS is real (Correct)

There is no chance on the bus (Incorrect)
There is no (extra) space on the bus (Correct)

I will attend the choir practice (Incorrect)
I will attend the choir rehearsal (Correct) 

I am sorry for the death of your friend (Incorrect) 
Accept my sympathy on the death of your friend (Correct)

I forgot my pen at home (Incorrect)
I left my pen at home (Correct) 

The weather of Kano is cool (Incorrect)
The climate of Kano is cool (Correct)

We came to your house but we met your absence (Incorrect)
We came to your house but you weren't at home (Correct)

Buy two bottles of minerals for me (Incorrect)
Buy two bottles of soft drinks for me (Correct) 

The examination questions are tough (Incorrect)
The examination questions are difficult (Correct)

Michael is determined to succeed in life; he is a goal-getter. (Incorrect)
Michael is determined to succeed in life; he is a go-getter (Correct)

We called the visiting lecturer to the high table to deliver the lecture (Incorrect)
We called the visiting lecturer to the platform to deliver the lecture (Correct)

I live in an upstairs (Incorrect)
I live in a storey building (Correct)

My elder sister needs a house help to assist in the house chores (Incorrect)
My elder sister needs a house keeper to assist in the house chores (Correct)

Samson marched on an enormous snake (Incorrect)
Samson trod on an enormous snake (Correct)

Mr Michael is my sponsorer (Incorrect)
Mr Michael is my sponsor (Correct)
Why death penalty’s not solution to problem of kidnapping in Nigeria

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/05/death-penaltys-not-solution-problem-kidnapping-nigeria/
Why death penalty’s not solution to problem of kidnapping in Nigeria

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/05/death-penaltys-not-solution-problem-kidnapping-nigeria/
By Oluwatosin Popoola EARLIER this month, the Senate approved a proposal to introduce a bill that will make kidnapping punishable by death. Many commentators have welcomed the decision arguing that the death penalty will deter the increasing number of kidnappings in the country. They are wrong. Kidnapping has reached epidemic levels in Nigeria and whilst the need for the Federal Government to fight this crime effectively has never been more urgent, the death penalty is not the solution. The reason for this is that there is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters kidnapping – or any other crime for that matter.

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/05/death-penaltys-not-solution-problem-kidnapping-nigeria/
By Oluwatosin Popoola EARLIER this month, the Senate approved a proposal to introduce a bill that will make kidnapping punishable by death. Many commentators have welcomed the decision arguing that the death penalty will deter the increasing number of kidnappings in the country. They are wrong. Kidnapping has reached epidemic levels in Nigeria and whilst the need for the Federal Government to fight this crime effectively has never been more urgent, the death penalty is not the solution. The reason for this is that there is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters kidnapping – or any other crime for that matter.

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/05/death-penaltys-not-solution-problem-kidnapping-nigeria/
By Oluwatosin Popoola EARLIER this month, the Senate approved a proposal to introduce a bill that will make kidnapping punishable by death. Many commentators have welcomed the decision arguing that the death penalty will deter the increasing number of kidnappings in the country. They are wrong. Kidnapping has reached epidemic levels in Nigeria and whilst the need for the Federal Government to fight this crime effectively has never been more urgent, the death penalty is not the solution. The reason for this is that there is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters kidnapping – or any other crime for that matter. Sentenced-to-deathScientific studies have consistently failed to find convincing evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishments. A series of authoritative studies conducted for the United Nations in regions around the world have repeatedly found that the death penalty does not have a greater deterrent effect on crime than a term of imprisonment. In 1970, the military government of General Yakubu Gowon introduced the death penalty for armed robbery in response to the alarming increase of the crime in Nigeria. This did not solve the problem, in fact robbery is as common today as it was then. Terrorist-related deaths Equally, the enactment of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 and the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013 – introducing the death sentence for terrorism-related offences has not curbed the problem in Nigeria. According to a Global Terrorism Index published by the Institute for Economics and Peace, in 2014, Nigeria witnessed the largest increase in terrorist-related deaths ever recorded by any country, increasing by over 300 per cent to 7,512 fatalities. Over the last three years, a number of states – including Bayelsa, Delta and Edo – have made laws prescribing the death penalty for kidnapping; however, this has not stopped the practice. This year alone has seen high profile kidnappings of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s uncle in Bayelsa state, His Royal Majesty Josiah Umukoro in Delta state and Hassana Garuba, a magistrate in Edo State to mention a few. Whilst the senate has the constitutional mandate to enact laws, making kidnapping a capital crime will breach Nigeria’s obligations under international human rights law. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Nigeria became a party in 1993, permits countries that have not abolished the death penalty to use the punishment only for the “Most Serious Crimes”. Under international human rights standards “Most Serious Crimes” are crimes that involve intentional killings. Kidnapping does not meet this threshold. Death penalty The death penalty is a violation of the right to life as declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Everyone has the right to life regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime they have committed. This does not mean that criminals should not face justice, and punishment, for their crimes. They should, the federal and state governments have a range of options they can legally use, including prison terms. The Federal Government should immediately take steps to address the root causes of kidnapping and other crimes by dealing with the high unemployment rate in the country and ensure that the Nigeria Police Force and other crime fighting agencies are well funded, trained and equipped to deal with crime. Good investigation into alleged crimes, timely arrests of suspects and effective prosecution will go a long way in reducing kidnapping and other crimes. The world is moving away from the use of the death penalty. In 1977 only 16 countries had abolished the punishment for all crimes. As of today, the number stands at 102 countries, a majority of the countries in the world. Knee-jerk reaction In 2015, four countries, including Madagascar and the Republic of Congo both in Africa, joined the ranks of countries that have consigned this cruel punishment to history. Expanding the scope of the death penalty goes against this positive global trend and will further entrench Nigeria amongst a minority of countries that hold on to the death penalty. Executing kidnappers is not the solution to ending the scourge of kidnapping in Nigeria. Rather it is a knee-jerk reaction by a government that wants to appear tough on crime. Instead of being a form of toughness, recourse to the death penalty is in reality a symptom of failure in governance. Rather than expanding the death penalty, the Senate should abolish it altogether.

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/05/death-penaltys-not-solution-problem-kidnapping-nigeria/
By Oluwatosin Popoola EARLIER this month, the Senate approved a proposal to introduce a bill that will make kidnapping punishable by death. Many commentators have welcomed the decision arguing that the death penalty will deter the increasing number of kidnappings in the country. They are wrong. Kidnapping has reached epidemic levels in Nigeria and whilst the need for the Federal Government to fight this crime effectively has never been more urgent, the death penalty is not the solution. The reason for this is that there is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters kidnapping – or any other crime for that matter. Sentenced-to-deathScientific studies have consistently failed to find convincing evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishments. A series of authoritative studies conducted for the United Nations in regions around the world have repeatedly found that the death penalty does not have a greater deterrent effect on crime than a term of imprisonment. In 1970, the military government of General Yakubu Gowon introduced the death penalty for armed robbery in response to the alarming increase of the crime in Nigeria. This did not solve the problem, in fact robbery is as common today as it was then. Terrorist-related deaths Equally, the enactment of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 and the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013 – introducing the death sentence for terrorism-related offences has not curbed the problem in Nigeria. According to a Global Terrorism Index published by the Institute for Economics and Peace, in 2014, Nigeria witnessed the largest increase in terrorist-related deaths ever recorded by any country, increasing by over 300 per cent to 7,512 fatalities. Over the last three years, a number of states – including Bayelsa, Delta and Edo – have made laws prescribing the death penalty for kidnapping; however, this has not stopped the practice. This year alone has seen high profile kidnappings of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s uncle in Bayelsa state, His Royal Majesty Josiah Umukoro in Delta state and Hassana Garuba, a magistrate in Edo State to mention a few. Whilst the senate has the constitutional mandate to enact laws, making kidnapping a capital crime will breach Nigeria’s obligations under international human rights law. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Nigeria became a party in 1993, permits countries that have not abolished the death penalty to use the punishment only for the “Most Serious Crimes”. Under international human rights standards “Most Serious Crimes” are crimes that involve intentional killings. Kidnapping does not meet this threshold. Death penalty The death penalty is a violation of the right to life as declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Everyone has the right to life regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime they have committed. This does not mean that criminals should not face justice, and punishment, for their crimes. They should, the federal and state governments have a range of options they can legally use, including prison terms. The Federal Government should immediately take steps to address the root causes of kidnapping and other crimes by dealing with the high unemployment rate in the country and ensure that the Nigeria Police Force and other crime fighting agencies are well funded, trained and equipped to deal with crime. Good investigation into alleged crimes, timely arrests of suspects and effective prosecution will go a long way in reducing kidnapping and other crimes. The world is moving away from the use of the death penalty. In 1977 only 16 countries had abolished the punishment for all crimes. As of today, the number stands at 102 countries, a majority of the countries in the world. Knee-jerk reaction In 2015, four countries, including Madagascar and the Republic of Congo both in Africa, joined the ranks of countries that have consigned this cruel punishment to history. Expanding the scope of the death penalty goes against this positive global trend and will further entrench Nigeria amongst a minority of countries that hold on to the death penalty. Executing kidnappers is not the solution to ending the scourge of kidnapping in Nigeria. Rather it is a knee-jerk reaction by a government that wants to appear tough on crime. Instead of being a form of toughness, recourse to the death penalty is in reality a symptom of failure in governance. Rather than expanding the death penalty, the Senate should abolish it altogether.

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/05/death-penaltys-not-solution-problem-kidnapping-nigeria/
By Oluwatosin Popoola EARLIER this month, the Senate approved a proposal to introduce a bill that will make kidnapping punishable by death. Many commentators have welcomed the decision arguing that the death penalty will deter the increasing number of kidnappings in the country. They are wrong. Kidnapping has reached epidemic levels in Nigeria and whilst the need for the Federal Government to fight this crime effectively has never been more urgent, the death penalty is not the solution. The reason for this is that there is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters kidnapping – or any other crime for that matter. Sentenced-to-deathScientific studies have consistently failed to find convincing evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishments. A series of authoritative studies conducted for the United Nations in regions around the world have repeatedly found that the death penalty does not have a greater deterrent effect on crime than a term of imprisonment. In 1970, the military government of General Yakubu Gowon introduced the death penalty for armed robbery in response to the alarming increase of the crime in Nigeria. This did not solve the problem, in fact robbery is as common today as it was then. Terrorist-related deaths Equally, the enactment of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 and the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013 – introducing the death sentence for terrorism-related offences has not curbed the problem in Nigeria. According to a Global Terrorism Index published by the Institute for Economics and Peace, in 2014, Nigeria witnessed the largest increase in terrorist-related deaths ever recorded by any country, increasing by over 300 per cent to 7,512 fatalities. Over the last three years, a number of states – including Bayelsa, Delta and Edo – have made laws prescribing the death penalty for kidnapping; however, this has not stopped the practice. This year alone has seen high profile kidnappings of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s uncle in Bayelsa state, His Royal Majesty Josiah Umukoro in Delta state and Hassana Garuba, a magistrate in Edo State to mention a few. Whilst the senate has the constitutional mandate to enact laws, making kidnapping a capital crime will breach Nigeria’s obligations under international human rights law. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Nigeria became a party in 1993, permits countries that have not abolished the death penalty to use the punishment only for the “Most Serious Crimes”. Under international human rights standards “Most Serious Crimes” are crimes that involve intentional killings. Kidnapping does not meet this threshold. Death penalty The death penalty is a violation of the right to life as declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Everyone has the right to life regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime they have committed. This does not mean that criminals should not face justice, and punishment, for their crimes. They should, the federal and state governments have a range of options they can legally use, including prison terms. The Federal Government should immediately take steps to address the root causes of kidnapping and other crimes by dealing with the high unemployment rate in the country and ensure that the Nigeria Police Force and other crime fighting agencies are well funded, trained and equipped to deal with crime. Good investigation into alleged crimes, timely arrests of suspects and effective prosecution will go a long way in reducing kidnapping and other crimes. The world is moving away from the use of the death penalty. In 1977 only 16 countries had abolished the punishment for all crimes. As of today, the number stands at 102 countries, a majority of the countries in the world. Knee-jerk reaction In 2015, four countries, including Madagascar and the Republic of Congo both in Africa, joined the ranks of countries that have consigned this cruel punishment to history. Expanding the scope of the death penalty goes against this positive global trend and will further entrench Nigeria amongst a minority of countries that hold on to the death penalty. Executing kidnappers is not the solution to ending the scourge of kidnapping in Nigeria. Rather it is a knee-jerk reaction by a government that wants to appear tough on crime. Instead of being a form of toughness, recourse to the death penalty is in reality a symptom of failure in governance. Rather than expanding the death penalty, the Senate should abolish it altogether.

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/05/death-penaltys-not-solution-problem-kidnapping-nigeria/
By Oluwatosin Popoola EARLIER this month, the Senate approved a proposal to introduce a bill that will make kidnapping punishable by death. Many commentators have welcomed the decision arguing that the death penalty will deter the increasing number of kidnappings in the country. They are wrong. Kidnapping has reached epidemic levels in Nigeria and whilst the need for the Federal Government to fight this crime effectively has never been more urgent, the death penalty is not the solution. The reason for this is that there is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters kidnapping – or any other crime for that matter. Sentenced-to-deathScientific studies have consistently failed to find convincing evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishments. A series of authoritative studies conducted for the United Nations in regions around the world have repeatedly found that the death penalty does not have a greater deterrent effect on crime than a term of imprisonment. In 1970, the military government of General Yakubu Gowon introduced the death penalty for armed robbery in response to the alarming increase of the crime in Nigeria. This did not solve the problem, in fact robbery is as common today as it was then. Terrorist-related deaths Equally, the enactment of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 and the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013 – introducing the death sentence for terrorism-related offences has not curbed the problem in Nigeria. According to a Global Terrorism Index published by the Institute for Economics and Peace, in 2014, Nigeria witnessed the largest increase in terrorist-related deaths ever recorded by any country, increasing by over 300 per cent to 7,512 fatalities. Over the last three years, a number of states – including Bayelsa, Delta and Edo – have made laws prescribing the death penalty for kidnapping; however, this has not stopped the practice. This year alone has seen high profile kidnappings of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s uncle in Bayelsa state, His Royal Majesty Josiah Umukoro in Delta state and Hassana Garuba, a magistrate in Edo State to mention a few. Whilst the senate has the constitutional mandate to enact laws, making kidnapping a capital crime will breach Nigeria’s obligations under international human rights law. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Nigeria became a party in 1993, permits countries that have not abolished the death penalty to use the punishment only for the “Most Serious Crimes”. Under international human rights standards “Most Serious Crimes” are crimes that involve intentional killings. Kidnapping does not meet this threshold. Death penalty The death penalty is a violation of the right to life as declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Everyone has the right to life regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime they have committed. This does not mean that criminals should not face justice, and punishment, for their crimes. They should, the federal and state governments have a range of options they can legally use, including prison terms. The Federal Government should immediately take steps to address the root causes of kidnapping and other crimes by dealing with the high unemployment rate in the country and ensure that the Nigeria Police Force and other crime fighting agencies are well funded, trained and equipped to deal with crime. Good investigation into alleged crimes, timely arrests of suspects and effective prosecution will go a long way in reducing kidnapping and other crimes. The world is moving away from the use of the death penalty. In 1977 only 16 countries had abolished the punishment for all crimes. As of today, the number stands at 102 countries, a majority of the countries in the world. Knee-jerk reaction In 2015, four countries, including Madagascar and the Republic of Congo both in Africa, joined the ranks of countries that have consigned this cruel punishment to history. Expanding the scope of the death penalty goes against this positive global trend and will further entrench Nigeria amongst a minority of countries that hold on to the death penalty. Executing kidnappers is not the solution to ending the scourge of kidnapping in Nigeria. Rather it is a knee-jerk reaction by a government that wants to appear tough on crime. Instead of being a form of toughness, recourse to the death penalty is in reality a symptom of failure in governance. Rather than expanding the death penalty, the Senate should abolish it altogether.

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/05/death-penaltys-not-solution-problem-kidnapping-nigeria/
By Oluwatosin Popoola EARLIER this month, the Senate approved a proposal to introduce a bill that will make kidnapping punishable by death. Many commentators have welcomed the decision arguing that the death penalty will deter the increasing number of kidnappings in the country. They are wrong. Kidnapping has reached epidemic levels in Nigeria and whilst the need for the Federal Government to fight this crime effectively has never been more urgent, the death penalty is not the solution. The reason for this is that there is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters kidnapping – or any other crime for that matter. Sentenced-to-deathScientific studies have consistently failed to find convincing evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishments. A series of authoritative studies conducted for the United Nations in regions around the world have repeatedly found that the death penalty does not have a greater deterrent effect on crime than a term of imprisonment. In 1970, the military government of General Yakubu Gowon introduced the death penalty for armed robbery in response to the alarming increase of the crime in Nigeria. This did not solve the problem, in fact robbery is as common today as it was then. Terrorist-related deaths Equally, the enactment of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 and the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013 – introducing the death sentence for terrorism-related offences has not curbed the problem in Nigeria. According to a Global Terrorism Index published by the Institute for Economics and Peace, in 2014, Nigeria witnessed the largest increase in terrorist-related deaths ever recorded by any country, increasing by over 300 per cent to 7,512 fatalities. Over the last three years, a number of states – including Bayelsa, Delta and Edo – have made laws prescribing the death penalty for kidnapping; however, this has not stopped the practice. This year alone has seen high profile kidnappings of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s uncle in Bayelsa state, His Royal Majesty Josiah Umukoro in Delta state and Hassana Garuba, a magistrate in Edo State to mention a few. Whilst the senate has the constitutional mandate to enact laws, making kidnapping a capital crime will breach Nigeria’s obligations under international human rights law. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Nigeria became a party in 1993, permits countries that have not abolished the death penalty to use the punishment only for the “Most Serious Crimes”. Under international human rights standards “Most Serious Crimes” are crimes that involve intentional killings. Kidnapping does not meet this threshold. Death penalty The death penalty is a violation of the right to life as declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Everyone has the right to life regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime they have committed. This does not mean that criminals should not face justice, and punishment, for their crimes. They should, the federal and state governments have a range of options they can legally use, including prison terms. The Federal Government should immediately take steps to address the root causes of kidnapping and other crimes by dealing with the high unemployment rate in the country and ensure that the Nigeria Police Force and other crime fighting agencies are well funded, trained and equipped to deal with crime. Good investigation into alleged crimes, timely arrests of suspects and effective prosecution will go a long way in reducing kidnapping and other crimes. The world is moving away from the use of the death penalty. In 1977 only 16 countries had abolished the punishment for all crimes. As of today, the number stands at 102 countries, a majority of the countries in the world. Knee-jerk reaction In 2015, four countries, including Madagascar and the Republic of Congo both in Africa, joined the ranks of countries that have consigned this cruel punishment to history. Expanding the scope of the death penalty goes against this positive global trend and will further entrench Nigeria amongst a minority of countries that hold on to the death penalty. Executing kidnappers is not the solution to ending the scourge of kidnapping in Nigeria. Rather it is a knee-jerk reaction by a government that wants to appear tough on crime. Instead of being a form of toughness, recourse to the death penalty is in reality a symptom of failure in governance. Rather than expanding the death penalty, the Senate should abolish it altogether.

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/05/death-penaltys-not-solution-problem-kidnapping-nigeria/

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