Rescuing ‘defenseless selves’: tasking the Nigeria Criminal Justice System on capital punishment in the 21st century

  • Ngozi Chukwu


Nigeria will still make effective use of capital punishment in the 21st century, at least to satisfy the principle of double effect. Better capital punishment than the violence of capital crime. More than the better of two evils, this paper argued that the death penalty is crucial for those facing trails for capital crimes in Nigeria achieving authenticity in Soren Kierkegaard’s view. Such criminals are among the ‘defenseless selves’, those whose individuality has been lost due to external influences. The institution of capital punishment by a criminal justice system that does not jeopardize the ingredients of justice, especially, proper apprehension suspected criminals, competent representation of the prosecuted, prompt prosecution and execution, of those found guilty, could rescue condemned criminals and enable them become ‘individuals’ or achieve authenticity. Moreover, it will reduce the spate of capital crime in the county, as well as economic loss due to amnesty bargains between governments and suspected criminals or due to ransom being paid kidnappers.Thus, even as speculations on abolition of capital punishment continues, the Nigerian legal profession should encourage competent and adequate representation of criminals facing the death sentence for the country to realize more through capital punishment.

Keywords: ‘Defenseless Selves’, Criminal Justice System, Capital Crime, Capital


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2070-0083
print ISSN: 1994-9057