EBONYI State Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General, Cletus Ofoke, on Friday, stated that Governor David Umahi has unconditionally granted pardon to 33 convicted prison inmates serving various jail terms in Abakaliki and Afikpo Correctional Center.
Ofoke, who stated this in Abakaliki while granting press briefly to newsmen, noted that the decision to pardon the inmates was in line with the federal government policy to decongest the Correctional Centers.
According to him, the convicts include both male and female with cases ranging from stealing, burglary, assault occasioning bodily harm, among others, while those on death roll at the different correctional centers in the state were not considered.
“The governor in his averred determination to decongest the correctional center in the Ebonyi State and guided by the recommendations of the state advisory council on prerogative of mercy has granted unconstitutional pardon and clemency to 33 convicts serving various terms in the correctional centers in Abakailiki and Afikpo in Ebonyi State”.
“The governor in line with the federal government efforts to decongest the prisons following the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus disease which the entire world is fighting so that it won’t escalate in the country. Governor Umahi believes that the idea of social distancing which is being preached in the state may not be attained if the correctional facilities in the state is not decongested”.
“The social distancing will not be attained because of the way the inmates are arranged at the centre and he has urged the convicts so pardoned to be accepted by their relatives, villages and families.
However, he also noted that the state governor has also factored the convicts into the state empowerment program so as to better their lives and make them self sufficient while those pardoned would not pose a threat to the society but would contribute to the development of the state.
The Attorney General further noted that the state governor had earlier at the Abakaliki Stadium released over 100 persons arrested for the violation of the COVID – 19 Laws of the state, adding that pardon of the convict was prerogative of mercy as enshrined in the constitution.
Credit: National Light