President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

Council of State grants presidential pardon to 159 convicts

NEWS DIGEST – The Nigerian Council of State has recommended that President Muhammadu Buhari grants pardon to 159 inmates convicted and currently serving various punishments for various offences.

Members of the council include the president, vice president, president of the Senate, speaker of the House of Representatives, former presidents and heads of state, all former chief justices of the federation, all serving governors and attorney-general of the federation.

Addressing the press after the meeting, Mr Malami said the recommendation came after the council received the report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy.

“In the exercise of the powers on the granting of pardon, precisely on the 28th day of August 2018, the President put in place a committee known as the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy, which was saddled with the responsibility of visiting the country’s correctional facilities and making recommendations to the President on the exercise of his power of mercy and compassion, by way of either granting pardon to those that have been convicted, clemency, or some other form of concessions by way of reduction in sentence and term,” Mr Malami said.

“It was in exercise such duties and responsibility in line with the terms of the Committee on Prerogative of Mercy that we presented the report to the President and the requirement of the law on the exercise of that mercy and pardon, should seek the advice of the Council of State.

“In line with that, a memo was presented by the president this afternoon to the council through which the report of the Committee was presented to council for its advice. The Committee made a submission of 162 people presented to the President for such consideration.

“26 of the inmates are recommended for presidential pardon, 85 of surviving ex-convicts, were recommended for presidential pardon, one deceased person was recommended for post humours presidential pardon, 27 inmates were recommended for presidential clemency, 13 inmates were recommended for a review of their sentences or prison terms, 10 inmates were presented for a reduced sentence from death to life imprisonment. In total, 162 convicts were presented for the President’s consideration for pardon and mercy.”

Mr Malami said the Council of State endorsed 159 out of the 162 convicts and advised the President to grant them pardon and mercy but rejected three of the recommended convicts.

“The Council rejected a proposal to grant pardon to one of the prisoners sentenced to 120 years for stealing over N25 billion. The reason for seeking pardon was because of a life threatening illness.

“The second person was convicted for forgery, sentenced for 14 years and has stayed in prison for a year and six months. The third person was obtaining money by false pretence and was sentenced for seven years,” he explained.

Also speaking, Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume, disclosed that over 400 nominations were endorsed by the Council for the granting of national honours.

He said: “The council approved the conferment of National Honours Award on 434 Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in the various fields of endeavours.

“It is supposed to be a yearly event, where the President confers on worthy Nigerians, men and women of integrity and character and are therefore, found worthy to be conferred with our national honours.”

Present at the meeting were former Heads of State, Generals Yakubu Gowon and Abdussalami Abubakar and former President Goodluck Jonathan, among others.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is currently out of the country, joined virtually from the US.

The meeting observed a minute of silence in honour of former head of Interim government Ernest Shonekan who died on January 11, 2022.