By Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has approved the grant of total pardon to five persons serving various terms in prison and commuted 30 others on death row to life imprisonment.
Okowa’s gesture is in accordance with the exercise of his Prerogative of Mercy under Section 212 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
A statement from the office of the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Hon Peter Mrakpor, stated that “the Governor acted pursuant to powers vested on him in exercise of his powers of prerogative of mercy in the spirit of the Easter celebration and took into consideration the several international and local pleas including those from Amnesty International.”
The attorney-general and commissioner for justice explained that the governor, acted based on the recommendations of the seven-Man Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy headed by Chief Patrick Okpakpor that was inaugurated on 30 March, 2017.
According to the statement, the Governor approved the grant of full pardon to the following inmates and ordered their immediate release; Livinus Ugwu (M) who was sentenced to 20 years; Enebeli Dike (M), a condemned convict; Orji Pascal (M), serving a 10 year jail term; Moses Agedah who was also on death row and Martins Ishiekwene, a prisoner sentenced to death on the 30th of November, 1998.
The 30 inmates whose sentences were commuted by the governor were all on death row, having been severally sentenced to death by hanging.
The statement further stated that Okowa administration was irrevocably committed to better the lives of the people, including prisoners saying the State Government had come out with various rehabilitation programmes through skills acquisition, training and other empowerment programmes geared towards their reintegration back to society.
“The Prison Authorities have been advised appropriately in the warrants of pardon signed by the Governor, to immediately effect the warrants of release and commuttal, respectively”, the statement noted.
Nevertheless, the governor has charged the reconstituted board to ensure to give effective assistance to the FMC in its annual budgets and projects.