The Nigerian High Court has sentenced a Danish citizen, Peter Nielsen, to death. Nielsen was convicted and sentenced on Friday for the 2018 murders of his Nigerian wife and their young daughter. Rights activists opposing the killing praised the court’s decision.
Justice Bolanale Okikiolu-Ighile of the Lagos High Court announced the verdict and sentence for 54-year-old Peter Nielsen on Friday in a hearing that lasted more than five hours.
The justice said evidence from an autopsy showed that Nielsen’s wife Zainab and their three-year-old daughter died of head injuries and suffocation. He said analysis of Zainab’s fingers showed that he struggled to free himself from the grip of his killer, and the DNA traces found on his skin were consistent with those of Nielsen.
Nielsen has been on trial since June 2018 after he was arrested for the murder of his Nigerian wife Zainab and their daughter at their home in Lagos. Nielsen pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The murder drew criticism from women’s rights groups and has been monitoring the progress of the trial ever since.
Activist Josephine Okei-Odumakin, chair of the Women’s Arise Initiative, attended Friday’s session.
“It will serve as a reference point, it is going to protect women as much as possible and reduce as much as possible the gender-based violence that is on the rise and I am sure that with this landmark decision, A rethink to a lot of people,” she said.
Okei-Odumakin notes that the bodies of Nielsen’s wife and daughter have been in the morgue since his death four years ago.
Nigerian courts issue the death penalty in cases such as murder, kidnapping, or armed robbery, despite growing debate over whether to abolish the measure.
Earlier this year, some advocates urged the Nigerian authorities to repeal the death penalty.
Human rights lawyer Martin Obono says stringent measures such as the death penalty are helpful in preventing crimes.
“In terms of deterrence, I think a lot of people would have killed people if they knew they would get away with it and they would get life imprisonment and maybe one day the governor or the president would come and pardon you,” he said. . ,
The death penalty is allowed in fifty countries around the world, including Nigeria.
Nigerian officials say more than 3,000 prisoners are awaiting execution, the highest in Africa. But the last time he was hanged was in 2016 in Nigeria.