From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, in line with prerogative of mercy, has granted 50 prisoners, who were on death row, pardon. The lucky prisoners included 34, who were on death row and awaiting execution, as well as 15 others whose death sentence were commuted to life imprisonment even as another convict had his 21-year jail term reduced to 15 years.
The State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mike Gusa, who disclosed this while speaking with newsmen in Makurdi on Friday said some of them are indigenes of Benue State, while some others are Nigerians who committed criminal activities, and were arrested, tried and convicted in Benue. He said the decision to pardon the convicts was reached following the recommendations of the Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy and the Federal Government’s policy on the decongestion of correctional centers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some of them (convicts) appealed their sentences, but their appeals failed, but His Excellency in his compassionate way has decided to invoke the provisions of the constitution to give these citizens of Nigeria; of Benue reprieve and granted them amnesty, so that they will be released and given a second chance.”
Gusa said the gesture was one of the humanitarian steps that the governor has taken as one who is committed to the rule of law, due process and passion for humanity and in compliance with Section 212 of the 1999 Constitution.