20 Condemned Convicts Escape Death as Ambode Commutes Sentences

Akinwunmi Ambode

• Frees 14 who had spent 20 years in prison

No fewer than 20 condemned prisoners in Lagos were saved from the hangman when the state government commuted their death sentences to life imprisonment just as it freed 14 inmates who had spent 20 years in prison.

This was sequel to the recommendations of the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy which toured the prisons to review cases in the drive to decongest prisons.

This was made known when the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem (SAN) was handing over the order for the release of the inmates signed by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to prison authorities.

 Kazeem explained that the development was pursuant to Constitutional provision for the constitution of an Advisory Council and empowered the Governor power to grant clemency to convicted persons on the advice of the Council.

“Prerogative of Mercy is a right recognised under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended); Section 212(2) of the Constitution provides that the powers conferred on the Governor under Section 212(1) shall be exercised by him after consultation with the Advisory Council of the State on the Prerogative of Mercy as may be established by the Law of the State,” Kazeem explained.

According to him, the inmates were considered to benefit from the prerogative of mercy after due examination of their case files, which revealed that they had been reformed and ready for re-integration into the society.

Kazeem congratulated the freed inmates, and advised them to be of good conduct outside the prison.

Also speaking, Chairman of the Council, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo said aside its power under the Constitution, the setting up of the Council also served as a way of de-congesting the prisons.

He equally congratulated the beneficiaries of the clemency by the Governor, and urged them to avoid acts that led them into prison in the first place.

The Controller of Prison in charge of Kirikiri Maximum Prison, DCP Emmanuel Oluwaniyi commended the State Government for the efforts to decongest the prison.

Oluwaniyi, who was newly deployed to the state, said it was gratifying that he was commencing his stewardship in the state on a good note with the release of inmates who were due to be re-integrated into the society, just as he equally admonished them to be of good conduct outside the prison.

Aside Oyewo and Kazeem, other members of the Lagos State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy are Mr. Adedotun Adetunji, Mrs. Musili Onasanya, Mr. Olumide Oniyire, Mr. Chris Okoye, Mrs. Bolatumi Animashaun, and Mrs. Yemisi Ogunlola (Secretary).