Abubakar Malami, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Minister of Justice, disclosed on Tuesday that the Federal Government has received numerous applications from convicts and inmates pleading for pardon and clemency in recent months.
He stated that 320 of these applications, which were filed on behalf of some convicts in Custodial Centers across the country, were routed through the Federal Ministry of Justice, according to the official.
In response to the plethora of requests received by his office alone, Malami claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the reconvening of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, also known as the PACPM.
READ Also : Breaking: President Buhari Approves Creation of 159 New TV, Radio Stations ( Full List )
The AGF made the remarks during a meeting with members of the Committee, which took place on Tuesday at the Federal Ministry of Justice Headquarters in Abuja.
Among those in attendance were Senator George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, as well as Permanent Secretaries Umar Mohammed of the Ministry of Justice and Amb. Anthonia Ekpa of the Ministry of Special Duties, who represented their respective ministries.
He stated in his keynote address that the Federal Government had on June 19, 2018, established the PACPM, which was comprised of distinguished Nigerians, with himself as Chairman of the Committee, and that this was the first meeting of the Committee.
READ Also : 15-year-old Igbo Girl Forcefully Converted To Islam, Married Off To Old Man in Kaduna, Family Cries Out
“The core mandate of the Committee is to assist Mr. President in the discharge of his constitutional responsibility of granting pardon and clemency to convicts or ex-convicts in deserving cases and reintegrating them back into society to decongest correctional facilities, as well as in the discharge of the role constitutionally bestowed on him in that respect.”
“In accordance with Section 175(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the President may:”
Provide a pardon to anyone who is involved in or convicted of any offence created by an Act of the National Assembly, whether unconditional or subject to legally permissible restrictions.
“Grant to any person a reprieve from the execution of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence, whether for an indefinite or a specified period of time;
“Suspend or modify any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence in favour of a less severe form of punishment; or
In his statement, Malami requested that the state “remit the whole or any part of any punishment imposed on the person for such an offence, or of any penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to the state on account of such an offence.”
He stated that the Committee had recommended some convicts and ex-convicts for presidential pardon in 2018, following a painstaking exercise at selected Correctional facilities in various states that cut across the country’s six geo-political zones.
Malami stated that President Buhari considered and approved the implementation of urgent measures to decongest custodial centres in order to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control in March 2020, which included the implementation of the Committee’s report.
According to the AGF, on the basis of the Committee’s report, the presidential pardon was granted to two inmates, clemency to 39 others, and four ex-convicts were also pardoned, according to the AGF.
During its meeting on August 27, 2020, the Council of State ratified and validated the President’s action, which he said had since been published in the official gazette of the United States.
Following the submission of its report and the subsequent adjournment, the Federal Ministry of Justice has received a large number of applications for presidential pardons and clemency.
On the other hand, following Mr President’s directive to all stakeholders to expeditiously ensure the decongestion of Correctional Centers in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the glaring consequent danger posed to Custodial Centers nationwide on the one hand, and the fact that the office of the honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, as well as that of the Committee Secretariat, is being inundated with a plethora of requests for the grant of presidential
“It has become necessary for the Committee to be reconvened,” says the chairman. You are responsible for investigating these applications and providing appropriate advice based on the facts you uncover.
In addition, Malami stated that “you are to carry out your assignment objectively and in the public interest and the interest of justice.”
Senator Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, lamented that the country’s prison population has “become a stain on the nation’s criminal justice system” in his remarks.
While praising the Federal Government for reconvening the PACPM, Akume pointed out that the Committee’s mandate is to interview, select, and determine convicts and ex-convicts who should be granted pardons for recommendation to the National Council of State, which is headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, among other things.
He did, however, caution the committee to be selective in the types of convicts it recommends for presidential pardons in the future.
“Mr President will be relying on you as a Committee to do what is required of him by the Constitution, which is to grant pardons to deserving inmates, convicts, and ex-convicts.” Mr. President:
As Akume warned, “I want to urge you all to exercise caution when conducting investigations into inmates in order to avoid releasing unrepentant criminals back into society and thereby contributing to the escalation of social problems in the country.”
Tags: Presidential Pardon