New Year: Benue Governor pardons 12 inmates


New Year: Benue Governor pardons 12 inmates

By Bridget Ikyado

Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue State on Sunday granted pardon to 12 inmates in Correctional Centre in the state, as part of the New Year celebrations.

The release of the inmates was based on the recommendation of the Benue State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy headed by the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr Fidelis Mnyim.

The action of the Governor was in line with the powers granted him by Section 212 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

He explained that the aim was to decongest the facility housing five hundred and twenty five of those convicted and awaiting trials.

The Governor directed the Commissioner, Mr Fidelis Mnyim to increase the number of members of the advisory council, to hasten processes for effective administration of Justice.

While admonishing the released inmates to be of good behaviour as they step out of prison to integrate with the society, the governor charged them to make use of the skills acquired while in custody to better their lives.

“Give your society the very best. And as for the gentleman whose dismissal has been converted to termination of appointment, don’t take any elements of life for granted. Demonstrate your newness into your society,” he said.

Alia added that the act of mercy was premised on his administration’s desire to offer the best to people of the state even as he worried that most of the inmates were quite young persons who ordinarily shouldn’t be anywhere near the prison.

“I will make provision for better welfare for you here but this shouldn’t be home for you, I am quite shocked to see the faces of many young people here where there are a total of 525 inmates including 25 females – one with a baby, others who came in with pregnancy,” the governor said.

Earlier, the Commissioner, Mnyim intimated the governor that the 8-man committee did a thorough scrutiny of the inmates before making the recommendation.

He pledged to do his best in changing the narrative i the judicial system of the state.

Mnyim further disclosed that the released inmates were from Makurdi, Otukpo and Gboko correctional facilities.

The State Comptroller, Nigeria Correctional Service, Mrs Mary Oche acknowledged the efforts of the Government in ensuring that the inmates do not stay in the Correctional centre more than necessary.

She stated that the Governor has graciously given transportation fares to the inmates to get to their respective destinations and enjoy the New year with their loved ones.

Also, Assistant Comptroller Mathias Dzuzu, appealed to the Governor to extend his power of amnesty to an inmate, Umaru Dan-Asabe, who has perforated intestines which cannot be managed within the Correctional centre

Responding, one of the released inmates, Barnabas Apaav, thanked the governor on behalf of his colleagues and promised to henceforth exhibit good behaviour as they go back to the society.

Barnabas also thanked the Governor for having mercy on them and promised not to go into criminal acts again

Among the 12 inmates pardoned was Dennis Terwase Yogbo, who was dismissed from the state civil service in 1995 due to an offence that led to his imprisonment.

The Governor after listening to his case, directed that Yogbo’s dismissal be reversed and converted to termination of appointment.

An elated Yogbo, thanked the governor for his magnanimity.

He said that he had been in bondage for 28 years and seeking solution to no avail until the God-sent governor came to his rescue following the recommendation of the council on prerogative of mercy that reviewed his case.

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