Governor Al-Makura, represented by his deputy Mr Silas Agara announced this at a ceremony at Ministry of Justice, Lafia adding that his administration was committed to decongesting prisons in the state.
He said government was concerned with over growing number of inmates across the five prisons in the state, saying that the administration would partner relevant agencies to ensure the prisons were decongested.
“The gesture is aimed at achieving dual purpose of decongesting prisons in the state as well as providing opportunities for the freed prisoners to reunite with their loved ones for proper reintegration into the society,” Al-Makura said.
The governor noted that acts of criminality were threats to the internal security of any nation, hence the enactment of laws and appropriate sanctions for offenders in order to ensure a safe society.
“However, we must realize the need for reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration of errant citizens so that punishment does not become counter-productive.
“It is in this connection that when our attention was recently drawn to the case of prison inmates, who deserve the state prerogative of mercy and those convicted with option of fines but could not pay, we decided to intervene,” Al-Makura said.
He said the inmates being granted pardon had shown improvement in their conducts and character in the course of serving their jail terms.
Al-Makura urged the freed inmates to accept their experience as part of destiny and to engage in productive venture after returning home providing them the sum of N5,000 each as transport to go home..
Also speaking, the State Chief Judge, Justice Suleiman Dikko represented by Justice Mustapha Rahman, charged the freed inmates to desist from acts capable of returning them back to prison.
Meanwhile, Mr Elijah Wase, one of the freed inmates, who was serving a 21-year jail term for armed robbery, expressed gratitude to God and the State Governor for granting him pardon. He said that he had already spent two out of his 21-year jail term. “I give God all the glory for what he has done in my life today, out of the five of us involved in the robbery operation, four were killed and I survived by the mercy of God. I found God while in prison and he changed my life for good and I will encourage other inmates to look up to God and be of good behaviour in order to obtain his mercy,” Wase said.
Speaking earlier, the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice Dr. Abdulkarim Kana, said the governor granted the pardon in the exercise of the powers conferred on him by Section 212 of the 1999 Constitution. He stated that the decision of the governor followed a recommendation by the state Council on Prerogative of Mercy http://nsmoj.com/download/3.
“The governor has approved the remission of sentences to 35 convicts in the various prison formations in the state based on powers conferred on him, Kana said that the governor had also paid the fines imposed on 28 other convicts who were given options of fines by some courts but could not afford to pay. He also said that the governor advised the beneficiaries to desist from committing any crime that would bring them back to prison”.
Also speaking at the event the Nasarawa State Commissioner of Information , Culture and Tourism , Barr. Yusuf Shehu Usman lauded the care and efforts of the Al-makura led administration which has ensured that persons were freed every year from prisons within the state.