Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, on Tuesday released twelve inmates of the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison in Apapa in furtherance of the law establishing the State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy.
The inmates have spent between twenty and thirty-four years in prison and were released having satisfied basic conditions such as remorse, good behaviour and readiness to contribute meaningfully to the society.
Speaking while handing over the release order from the Governor to the Lagos Prisons Command, Chairman of the State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo, said the release of the inmates was in line with the commitment of the present administration to the ideals of the justice sector reforms through prison decongestion.
Oyewo, who represented Governor Ambode at the event alongside other members of the Council, said the exercise was pursuant to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which empowered the Governor to exercise prerogative of mercy, and also to offer hope to such inmates who had demonstrated capacity to be re-absorbed into the society.
Oyewo, a professor of law said, “The Advisory Council On Prerogative of Mercy is established under the Laws of Lagos State pursuant to the powers of the Governor under the Constitution to exercise prerogative of mercy. The Council meets to consider applications for the exercise of prerogative of mercy that is forwarded through the Nigerian Prisons authority.
“Basically, in exercising this there are guidelines that are set and some of these include looking at the period that has been served by the inmates and for hard capital offences, such inmates must have served for a sufficient period of time and the reason is that the Council in the guidelines try to balance various interests such as that of the community, the family of the victims and also the interest of the administration of criminal justice and justice reform to ensure that prisoners are reformed and rehabilitated.
“It also include transformation in the life of the prisoner because there must be remorse and acknowledgment of the fact that something wrong had been done and then the prisoner must also have acquired some skills to show that he is ready to be rehabilitated into the society.”