ABUJA – (Special Duties Office Report) – The Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy (PACPM) has embarked on a nationwide visit of prisons to investigate cases of Prisoners and ex-Convicts who are deserving of presidential pardon, with the ultimate aim of decongesting prisons in the country.
The Vice Chairman of the Committee, William Alo (Chief), who is also the Permanent Secretary in the Special Duties Office under the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) noted that the objective of the Committee is to interview, select and determine convicts and ex-convicts to be granted presidential pardon for onward recommendation to the National Council of State headed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
William Alo made this known during his courtesy calls on the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi (SAN) and the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Opeyemi Oke (Justice), who was represented by A. Okuwobi (Justice) as well as the Chief Judge of Ogun State, Mosunmola A. Dipeolu (Justice).
Speaking during the visit to Ondo State, the Deputy Governor explained that some of the convicts were sentenced under the Decree era before the commencement of the 1999 Constitution as amended, consequently giving the Committee the powers to investigate convictions. Agboola Ajayi called on the Committee members to tread with caution, while investigating the prisoners, in order not to release unrepentant criminals back into the society and thereby causing more social problems in the country.
On their part, the Chief Judge of Lagos State and the Chief Judge of Ogun State while welcoming the PACPM appreciated the work of the Committee stating that their activities will further assist in decongesting the prisons in Lagos and Ogun States and the country in the long run.
During the visits, the Committee members took time out to interrogate the prisoners to find out if they were qualified for presidential pardon, were remorseful and if they had taken advantage of the skills acquisition programmes offered in the prisons for their onward re-integration into the society if granted pardon by the President.
The Assistant Controller of Prisons Operations, Abubakar Garba in his reaction expressed optimism that over 200 persons were expected to be recommended for presidential pardon on completion of the exercise. He indicated that so far, Awka in Anambra State, Kwale and Ogwashi-Ukwu Prisons in Delta State and Port Harcourt, Rivers State Prisons in the South – South and Abeokuta in Ogun State as well as Akure in Ondo State, Ilesha in Osun State, Ikoyi and Kirikiri – Lagos State Prisons in the South West have been visited.
He later expressed hope that more prisons in the remaining four geo-political zones will be visited before the end of the year.
The Committee which is chaired by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) is charged with the responsibility of recommending to the President the prisoners and ex-convicts who are deserving of presidential pardon.
Other members of the committee are Ayoola Daniels, who represented the Attorney General of the Federation; Lawal Shehu – a representative of the Inspector General of Police; Abubakar Garba, who is an Assistant Controller of Prisons representing the Nigerian Prisons Service; Yetunde Haastrup of the National Human Rights Commission; Lucy Ajayi, Lady Debbie N. Irebu, Yadudu (Prof); Albert Uko – a representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and a representative of Jamatu Nasril Islamiya among other eminent Nigerians.
Osagie Jacobs Julie (Mrs.)
Special Duties Office