Nigeria leads the list of Countries sentencing the most people to death.

Abiola Afolabi

In spite of human rights Activists efforts to abolish the death penalty globally, it is gaining more popularity among countries. Report from Amnesty International shows that 1,925 sentences were issued in 2013 and the figures rose up to 2,466 in 2014. The dramatic rise is due to the number of the death sentence issued by countries seeking to tackle crime, terrorism, and internal stability.

In Nigeria, 659 death sentences were recorded in 2014, a jump of more than 500 compared with the 2013 figures- 141. Nigeria executed four individuals in 2013 after almost 8 years since its last execution, this happened shortly after President Goodluck Jonathan urged state governors to sign death warrants for death row prisoners on June 16, 2013.

Infographic: The Countries Sentencing The Most People To Death | Statista

The surge in 2014 is attributed to the mass death sentences to soldiers, who were convicted of mutiny in the context of the armed conflict with Boko Haram terrorists in the North, by Military courts.The methods of execution are not limited to hanging, shooting and stoning, although, execution by hanging is unconstitutional in Lagos State and shooting are stoning are commonly used under Sharia law in some northern Nigerian states.

Nigeria leads the chart with 659 death sentences, Egypt followed closely with 509 death sentences and Pakistan rounded off the top three list with 231 inmates to be executed in 2014. Crimes like aggravated murder, murder, terrorism-related offenses resulting in death, adultery, rape, treason, kidnapping, and cannibalism etc. are punishable by death in Nigeria but not in all states, as kidnapping was only made a capital offence in 2006 in six states: Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo and in 2013, it became a capital offense in Edo state.

Across the world, there were 19,094 people on death row at the end of 2014. After China, Iran executed the most people last year with 249 confirmed. Saudi Arabia came second with at least 90 while Iraq came third with 61.

Capital punishment has failed as a preventive measure against crime in Nigeria, as it is still unsafe due to the high rate of crime recorded on a daily basis. It has not proved to be an effective way to deter crime and in many cases people are wrongfully convicted. A statistical appraisal of crime rate in Nigeria by the Department of statistics, Abia State Polytechnic shows there is a significant growth over the years and if not checked it will keep rising.


In the 2014 report on the death penalty published on 1 April 2015, Amnesty International documented a drop of 22 per cent in the number of executions worldwide, from 778 to 607, and a 28 per cent rise in the number of death sentences imposed (from 1925 to 2466). These figures do not include the presumed thousands of executions in China and a high number of unreported cases in countries such as Iran, North Korea, and Viet Nam. By the end of 2014, 98 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, 90% of countries have now banned executions.

Nigeria does not need more death sentences to curb crimes it needs sufficient structures to keep the system running. It needs to find a remedy to unemployment issues, NBS report claims there are over 22.6 million unemployed people, Government has to review its anti-crime strategies and strengthen existing security agencies.