By Onuminya Innocent
In its bid to decongest prisons and avoid the spread of COVID-19 among the inmates, Sokoto State Government under its committee on prerogative of mercy yesterday freed 29 inmates from the Sokoto Central Prison.
Also, two civil servants hitherto dismissed from the state service now have their penalties converted to retirement.
The state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, who is the chairman of the advisory committee on prerogative of mercy, Suleman Usman (SAN), announced the pardon at the Sokoto Central Prison on behalf of the state governor.
According to Suleiman, “The pardon was at the instance of the executive powers vested on the governor to offer mercy to inmates by the 1999 constitution as amended.
He said the gesture was aimed at enabling the ex-prisoners to reunite with their family members and become decent citizens as well as intended to decongest the prison and protect the inmates from being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The commissioner called on the freed prisoners to shun vices and engage in viable ventures that would uplift their living standards.
He further said the exercise was carried out on a routine basis to deserving inmates in order to offer mercy to them.
The commissioner later presented the sum of N50, 000 cash assistance to each of the pardoned inmates on behalf of the state government.
He said the gesture was to enable them set up some useful ventures while starting a new life out of the prison.
The Attorney-General also disclosed that ex-civil servants of the state, who benefited from the amnesty, are Bawa Sahabi Tambuwal and Murtala Mani Salihu.
Speaking on behalf of the state controller of correctional service, the Deputy Controller in charge of the prison, Mallam Idris Muhammad, thanked the state government for its continued support and encouragement to the prison.