Human rights activists say a man condemned to hang when he was 16 because of confessions extracted under torture will be pardoned after spending 10 years on death row.

Nigerian activists and Amnesty International said Monday that the outgoing governor of Delta State signed his reprieve last week.

Moses Akatugba was a schoolboy when soldiers arrested him for allegedly stealing three cell phones. The activists said he was then tortured by police, including tearing out his finger and toe nails with pliers.

He signed confessions to armed robbery — a crime that carries a mandatory death sentence in Nigeria, though minors are meant to be exempt.

Rights groups say Akatugba's illegal sentencing and incarceration are typical of the injustices visited on Nigerians by a corrupt system.