By Jude Atupulazi
The Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy headed by the Honorable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, was in Anambra State recently in furtherance of their mandate to identify and recommend prison inmates to be given presidential pardon.
Malami said the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy was inaugurated on the 28th of August, 2018, under his chairmanship to assist President Muhammadu Buhari in the discharge of his responsibility of granting pardon to deserving convicts and ex-convicts.
He said that the purpose of this visit was therefore in line with that mandate, just as they would provide criteria in ensuring that only deserving persons were considered for pardon.
Malami noted the members would look forward to learning more about the challenges faced by prisons in the country through such visits to enhance the final recommendations of their sister committee towards finding lasting solutions to prison congestion.
He noted that it was worthwhile that the recommendation of his Committee after three years of inactivity was part of what he described as a cocktail of the initiatives of the Buhari Administration aimed at decongesting the prisons and supporting the criminal Justice system.
The Minister stated that pursuant to the recommendation of the Committee, the president was expected to grant pardon to deserving persons after due consultation with the National Council.
He said that the constitution empowered the committee to also recommend a less severe form of punishment to be imposed on a convict for an offence.
He assured that the Federal Ministry of Justice would support the Committee to host a stakeholders' summit before the end of 2018, adding the summit would bring together Chief Judges, Attorneys General, members of Nigeria Bar Association, Legal Aid Council of the Nigeria Bar Association, National Human Rights Commission, as well as friends from civil society and all other relevant institutions to discuss practices and sustainable prison reforms.
He further expressed his appreciation to the Governor of Anambra State, the Attorney General, Chief Judge of Anambra State, and the Anambra Comptroller of Prisons, who, he observed, had worked hard to make the activity possible.
In a vote of thanks the Governor, represented by the Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice, Barr Uju Nwogu, expressed gratitude and said Anambra State was a well known State of hospitality, peace, tranquility, and also as a state who secure the life and property of people.
She assured the visiting team of the state's readiness to continue to partner with them for the progress of the state and wished them journey mercies.