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Nigeria Vows to Execute Death Row Inmates

A Nigerian government official is vowing to move ahead with plans to execute hundreds of death row inmates in spite of criticism from a leading human rights group.

The governor of southeastern Abia state, Theodore Orji, says the inmates "have gone through due process" and "have been convicted." In an interview with VOA English to Africa, he says, "They have to be killed."

On Tuesday, Orji announced the country's 36 governors had agreed to execute death row inmates in order to relieve prison overcrowding. He made the announcement after a governor's meeting in the capital, Abuja.

On Thursday, Amnesty International condemned the decision. The group's Nigeria researcher, Aster van Kregten, said it is "shocking" to suggest executing prisoners as a way to deal with the problem of overcrowded jails.

Amnesty says there are currently more than 870 death row inmates in Nigeria. In a Thursday statement, the rights group says many death row inmates may be innocent because "Nigeria's justice system is riddled with flaws."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.