Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Monday called for the abolishment of death penalty in Nigeria.
The governor made the call when members of the Presidential Committee on Prisons Reforms, led by its Chairman, Justice Ishaq Bello, paid him a courtesy visit in Asaba.
According to him, death penalty should be abolished and those who are already sentenced to death be converted to life imprisonment, more so now that most state governments are unwilling to sign the death warrant.
He also called for the reformation of the prisoners to make them better citizens of the country.
Okowa condemned a situation where prison inmates coordinate criminal activities such as kidnapping from the prisons, adding that reforming the prisoners was apt for a sustainable crime-free society.
He said: “We need to reform the minds of the prisoners, a programme to reform the mind of prisoners is very important because once you are able to reform their minds, they will become better citizens.
“As a state government, we are extending our skills acquisition programmes to the prisons.
“But it will be such that the prisoners would be given starter packs as they are leaving the prisons to enable them start their own businesses and be useful members of the society.”
According to the governor, setting up of the committee for Prisons Reforms is timely and urged it to ensure a thorough job.
Okowa noted that the crime rate in the country was on the rise and available prisons infrastructure had been stretched beyond their limits.
Earlier, Bello said they were in the state to have as part of their activities to reform the Nigerian Prisons Service.
He said the committee had visited more than 13 states in that regard.