By Egena Sunday Ode
The National Council of State Thursday ratified the presidential pardon granted to late Governor, Professor Ambrose Alli, (governor of the defunct Bendel state, 1979—1983, now Edo and Delta states), over N900,000 fraud.
Although Alli later paid the money back to government, the former governor was convicted. He died 22 September, 1989 on his birthday.
Others whose pardon were also ratified by Council at Thursday’s meeting were Col. Moses Effiong, Major E.J Olarenwaju (for attempted coup in the Ibrahim Babangida era) and one Ajayi Olusola Babalola.
Addressing State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting which had in attendance four former heads of states – General Yakubu Gowon, General Ibrahim Babangida; Chief Earnest Shonekan, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and Goodluck Jonathan, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the ratification followed his presentation of a memo, in consultation with the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy.
According to him, “The memo presented for consultation in line with one of the constitutional requirements and consideration of grant of pardon to 45 persons, two inmates for pardon, 39 inmates for clemency and four ex-convicts for presidential pardon.
“To further clarify on the prerogative of mercy, Mr. president with COVID-19 pandemic, has directed the decongestion of our correctional centers across the country. And by way of collaborative action, the governors, heads of courts across the nations, have worked assiduously in collaboration with the presidential committee on decongestion of our correctional centers and at the end of the day we have succeeded in taking over 4,000 inmates out of our correctional centers across the country.
“What we have today is a consolidation of what has been done and the strategies put in place to see to the decongestion of our correctional centers.
“As you are aware, more than 70 percent inmates in our correctional centers were awaiting trial across the country and a lot of considerations were put in place to ensure our correctional centers are decongested and the prerogative of mercy was one of such considerations by Mr. President.”