In the spirit of the yuletide festivities, Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue state has granted pardon to 12 inmates serving various terms at the Makurdi, Otukpo and Gboko Correctional Centres.
According to the Governor’s principal special Assistant, Media, Bridget Ikyado, the gesture was in conformity with the provisions of Section 212 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended and as part of efforts to decongest the Correctional Centres.
She also noted that the pardon was extended to the inmates on the premise of the recommendations of the Benue State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy headed by the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and Public Order, Mr. Fidelis Mnyim.
Governor Alia who admonished the released inmates to be of good behaviour as they integrate into the society and apply the skills acquired while in custody said “Give your society the very best. And as for the gentleman whose dismissal has been converted to termination of appointment, don’t take any elements of life for granted. Demonstrate your newness in your society.”
While assuring that he would continue to prioritize the welfare of inmates in Correctional Centres in the state, the Governor said, “I will make provision for better welfare for you here but this shouldn’t be home for you.
“I am quite shocked to see the faces of many young people here where there are a total of 525 inmates including 25 females, one with a baby and others who came in with pregnancy.”
Earlier, the Justice Commissioner, Mr. Mnyim stated that the eight-man committee did a thorough scrutiny of the inmates before making its recommendation.
He assured of his commitment to ensuring the reform of the judicial system in the state saying that “the released inmates were from Makurdi, Otukpo and Gboko Correctional facilities.”
The State Comptroller, Nigeria Correctional Service, NCS, Mrs. Mary Oche acknowledged the efforts of the Government in ensuring that the inmates did not stay in the Correctional Centres more than necessary.
Mrs. Oche disclosed that the Governor had provided transportation fares to enable the released inmates to return home and enjoy the New Year celebration with their loved ones.
Also, an Assistant Comptroller, Mathias Dzuzu, appealed to the Governor to extend the pardon to an inmate, Umaru Dan-Asabe who had a health condition that could not be managed within the Correctional Centre.
Responding on behalf of the released inmates, Barnabas Apaav, thanked the Governor assuring that they would be of good conduct.
The statement noted that among the pardoned inmates was one Dennis Yogbo, who was dismissed from the State Civil Service in 1995 due to an offence that led to his imprisonment.
He said was incarcerated for 28 years and could not secure his freedom before God’s intervention through the visit of the Governor.