The Lagos State Government, through the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, has pardoned 14 inmates of the Maximum Security Prison in Kirikiri.
Those pardoned had been imprisoned for more than 20 years for various offences, while 20 others on death row had their punishment converted to life imprisonment.
The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, disclosed this on Friday while handing over the order for the release of the inmates signed by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to the prison authorities.
He said the development was pursuant to the constitutional provision which provided for the setting up of an advisory council and empowered the governor to grant clemency to convicted persons on the advice of the council.
“Prerogative of Mercy is a right recognised under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended),” the commissioner stated.
He added, “Section 212(2) of the Constitution provides that the powers conferred on the Governor under Section 212(1) shall be exercised by him after consultation with the Advisory Council of the State on the Prerogative of Mercy as may be established by the Law of the State.”
The attorney general explained that the inmates were considered to benefit from the prerogative of mercy after due examination of their case files, which revealed that they have been reformed and ready for re-integration into the society.
Kazeem, who is also a member of the Council, congratulated the inmates and advised them to be of good conduct outside the prison.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Council, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo, said aside from its power under the Constitution, the setting up of the council also served as a way of decongesting the prisons.
He equally congratulated the beneficiaries of the clemency by the governor and asked them to avoid acts that led them to into prison in the first place.
The newly deployed Controller of Prison in charge of Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Emmanuel Oluwaniyi, commended the state government for its efforts at de-congesting prisons in the state.
He said it was gratifying that he commenced his stewardship in Lagos on a good note with the release of inmates who were due to be re-integrated into the society.
Other members of the Lagos State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy who visited the prison include Mrs Yemisi Ogunlola (Secretary), Mr Adedotun Adetunji, Mrs Musili Onasanya, and Mr Olumide Oniyire, among others.