Niger, Kogi, Plateau govs pardon 296 prisoners

Enyioha Opara, Gbenga Odogun, and Friday Olokor

The Governors of Niger State, Abubakar Bello; Kogi State, Yahaya Bello; and Plateau State, Simon Lalong, pardoned a total of 296 prisoners on Monday, in commemoration of Nigeria’s 58th independence anniversary.

Niger State governor, granted an unconditional pardon to four prison inmates on death row and two others convicted and kept in prison custody.

He also reduced the death sentence of 20 inmates to a various term of imprisonment, discharged 40 others and ordered payment of fines for 221 convicts held in various prisons across the state.

In a message to Nigerlites, Bello said the gesture was in the spirit of the season and by the virtue of the powers vested in him by section 212 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

He directed the Office of the Attorney General as well as the Niger State Council on Prerogative of Mercy to give effect to the pronouncement.

While felicitating with all Nigerians on the occasion, Bello reassured the citizens that his administration remained resolute and focused to work for the progress and development of the state in line with the visions of “our nationalists who fought for liberation and sovereignty of the country.”

Kogi State governor, also pardoned two prisoners − Enejo Saliu at Kabba Prison and Kabiru Bala at Koton-Karfe Prison.

He said the decision was arrived at after a recommendation of the Council on Prerogative of Mercy.

While congratulating the beneficiaries, Bello strongly urged them to spend the rest of their days proving themselves worthy of the second chance.

Plateau State governor, on his part, granted state pardon to seven prisoners serving various jail terms in the state.

The beneficiaries were said to have been sentenced for robbery, criminal conspiracy, possession of firearms, theft and culpable homicide.

Lalong said he took the decision after consultation with the state advisory council on the prerogative of mercy.

While condemning the spate of skirmishes and uprising in parts of Jos and neighbouring Local Government Areas, Lalong regretted the incidents and commiserated with the families of those who had been injured and killed.

The Plateau State Commissioner of Information and Communication, Yakubu Dati, identified beneficiaries of the amnesty to include Samson Jonah, Dung Mwankon, Vincent Bulus, Hosea Pokyes and Maxwell Idi.

According to him, Yakubu Yohana and Victor Bakyil, who were sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment, had their sentences reduced to 10 years each.

Lalong implored those pardoned to turn a new leaf and make useful contributions to the society.

He also expressed concern over the security situation in some communities in the state, saying he had directed security agencies to continue their tireless efforts to nip the situation in the bud.

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