A total of 536 inmates across the 240 custodial centres nationwide have been pardoned by state governors between January and August 2023.
This was contained in the latest summary of inmates population in Nigeria’s Correctional Service, release on Friday in Abuja.
The summary reveals that the total inmates population was 80,883, out of which 55,257 are awaiting trial and 25,626 are convicted.
According to the information l, on June 12, Governor Umaru Bago of Niger State pardoned 80 inmates in various correctional centres and approved the immediate payment of their fines to enable them rejoin their families.
It was also gathered that in June 2, 2023, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on the recommendation of the Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy, approved the release of 49 inmates from various correctional facilities across the state.
Similarly, on May 30, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State announced the release of 49 prison inmates, while on May 28, former governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, pardoned eight convicts on death row and 13 other prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment.
The report further disclosed that on 27 may, the Yobe State Governor, Mai Buni, pardoned 115 prisoners selected from various correctional centres across the state.
“On May 26, the ex-governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello, pardoned 24 convicts, among whom were those already sentenced to death.
“Similarly, he paid N20m in fines for 80 other inmates so they could breathe the air of freedom. On April 22, former governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje pardoned 43 inmates serving various jail terms across the state.
“It was reported that on March 25, the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot, released 45 inmates across the state during her visit to the correctional centres. The Chief Judge visited Ikot Abasi, Eket, Ikot Ekpene, and Uyo correctional centres
“On March 7, Ganduje pardoned 12 inmates on death row. On January 1, the Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, granted state pardons to 18 inmates across various correctional facilities within the state,” the report said.
Spokesperson of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Abubakar Umar, who made announcement while presenting the report to newsmen, said “The issue of awaiting trial inmates has to do with the prosecuting agency and the trial court. We do not prosecute or hear cases.”
Also speaking, a security expert and Managing Director of Beacon Consulting Limited, Kabir Adamu, said the pardons by governors are part of efforts to decongest custodial centres.