Governor Muhammad Badaru of Jigawa State has pardoned 17 inmates of the Nigerian Correctional Service, NCS, in the state.
Hajiya Zainab Baba-Santali, the Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Justice, disclosed this in a statement issued in Dutse on Wednesday.
Baba-Santali said the gesture was to decongest the correctional facilities in the state, especially during this period of the Ramadan fasting and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar, has given pardon to 17 convicted persons based on the recommendation of the state Committee on Prerogative of Mercy under the leadership of Dr Aisha Warshu Haruna.
“The inmates have been released from correctional facilities. The pardon is part of the routine policy by the governor to provide succour to inmates who are remorseful,” Baba-Santali said.
“The categories of the inmates vary from those who have committed minor crimes and three young persons that the Jigawa State High Court detained for a long time at the pleasure of the Governor for the offence of Homicide.
“Appreciating the governor’s clemency, the Jigawa Attorney-General (AG), Dr Musa Adamu Aliyu, said the gesture showed that the governor is compassionate to remorseful inmates.
The AG added that the Committee on Prerogative of Mercy Committee had done well through meticulous scrutiny of inmates who deserved pardon before forwarding the final list to the governor,’’ Baba-Santali said.
According to her, the Attorney General further appealed to the people of the state to be law-abiding, stay out of crimes, report any suspicious activities to the security agencies and pray for peace and prosperity of the state and Nigeria at large.
At the Hadejia Medium Security/Custodial Centre in Hadejia town, the spokesman of the NCS Command in the state, Mr Sani Jahun, who spoke on behalf of the state’s NCS Controller, Abubakar Guri, said the inmates were pardoned by the governor after they were recommended by the Jigawa Committee on Prerogative of Mercy.
Mr Guri said the freed inmates were those with minor offences ranging from witchcraft, theft, criminal breach of trust, bad utterances and those in detention without trial, among others.
He explained that the beneficiaries were considered based on good conduct, remorsefulness and those who had little period left to serve at the centres.
The controller advised them to be law-abiding and not to indulge in anything that would make them return to the centres.
“What you should do to show your appreciation to the governor is not only to pray for him but to be of good conduct as you rejoin your family and the society.
“You should reciprocate the gesture by avoiding acts capable of disrupting the peace of your immediate societies, the state and the nation at large,’’ the controller advised.
According to him, the gesture is the governor’s annual way to show mercy to people, particularly in the Holy Month of Ramadan.
The three inmates released from the Hadejia facility, Abdu Buji, Buba Khalifa and Maman Adamu, told newsmen that they spent eight years in the facility.
The freed inmates, who were visibly elated, said they had been in detention without trial since when they were ages 13, 14 and 15.
They all promised to be of good character and not to repeat their offence.
“We will never repeat our offence, in fact, we will never go close to it. We thank the governor for the gesture.
“We are happy to be free after spending years in detention and we are happy that we will celebrate this Sallah with our family and loved ones,’’ they said.
Also, commenting, the officer in charge of the facility, Mr Sani Muhammad, said that the three inmates were trained in various income-generating trades during their stay in the custody.
“They learnt how to knit caps and how to make soaps. In fact they produced very fine and quality caps which were sold in town.
“They earn a lot of money through this and they are given all their money as they leave the centre.
“I’m really happy that these three inmates are freed after writing several times on their behalf to the governor’s committee on prerogative of mercy.
He added that they were also given the first jab of COVID-19 vaccine in the facility.
The inmates were given a copy of the pardon letter in case of eventuality.
NAN also reports that of the 17 beneficiaries, nine were released from Kazaure Custodial Centre, three from Hadejia, two from Babura, another two from Gumel and one from Jahun.