…..sets to treat 320 applications
As part of his constitutional mandate to grant pardon to deserving convicts and ex-convicts in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR has reconvened the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy (PACPM) and Clemency, today Tuesday September 28th, 2021 in Abuja.
The President noted that following the inauguration of the Committee in 2018, members embarked on a painstaking exercise to selected Correctional Facilities in various states of the Federation, cutting across all the 6 Geo-Political Zones of the country, to critically appraise and identify potential cases of convicts and ex-convicts towards recommending them for Presidential Pardon and Clemency.
While expressing the Federal Government stance, the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, explained that the core mandate was to assist the President in the discharge of his constitutional responsibility of granting pardon and clemency to convicts or ex-convicts in deserving cases and reintegrating them into the society.
He explained that by virtue of section 175(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the President may grant any person concerned with or convicted of any offence created by an Act of the National Assembly a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions; grant to any person a respite, either for an indefinite or for a specific period of the execution of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence and amongst others.
He further explained that the gesture was geared towards decongesting Correctional Centres and discharge the role constitutionally bestowed on him in that regard.
Malami pointed that in March 2020; he considered and approved the implementation of some urgent measures to ensure speedy decongestion of custodial centres towards the control of the COVID-19 Pandemic including the implementation of the Report of the PACPM for the granting of Presidential Pardon to 2 inmates and Clemency to 39 inmates as well as pardon to 4 Ex-convicts.
He noted that the names of the beneficiaries of the Pardon and Clemency granted by the President in 2020 had been published in two National Dailies as prepared and processed by the Federal Ministry of Justice.
He explained that since the Committee submitted its Report and proceeded on recess, the FMOJ has received three Hundred and Twenty (320) applications for presidential pardon and clemency on behalf of some convicts in Custodial Centres across the nation.
‘’You are to look into these applications and advice as appropriate based on facts, and carry out your assignment objectively in the public interest and in the interest of justice”. He charged the Committee.
The Minister commended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and Mrs. Leticia Ayoola-Daniels, Ag Director, Administration of Criminal Justice and Reform Department of the ministry for their unquenchable zeal, passion and demonstrable commitment towards the realization of the mandate of the Committee, especially during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown.
In his Opening Remarks, the Hon. Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Sen. George Akume fnim, revealed that the reconvening of the Committee was a necessary impetus in bringing about drastic reduction in the population of inmates in the nation’s Correctional Centres.
In the onerous task of interviewing, selecting, determining and recommending convicts and ex-convicts to be granted pardon to the National Council of State, Akume advised caution in order not to release unrepentant criminals back into the society which could cause more social problems.
In a short remark, the Acting Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Umar Etsu Mohammed, Esq. reminded the committee that their core mandate was to advise and support the President on the need to grant pardon to deserving convicts. He then charged them to carry out their task effectively.
In her vote of thanks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Amb. Anthonia A. Ekpa (Ph.D) noted that it was a pretty happy event for which the President have brought sunshine and light into the lives of those who have been in darkness in correctional centres for a while. On behalf of members, she thanked the President for the confidence reposed on members in the very important national assignment.
Ekpa assured that the Committee would do a thorough job to justify the confidence reposed in them.
Members of the committee were drawn from Federal Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Christian Association of Nigeria, Islamic Society of Nigeria, National Human Rights Commission, Nigeria Police, Nigerian Correctional Service