From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
Niger state government has said that it was making efforts to decongest prisons by granting amnesty to prisoners who have been of good behavior or over stayed in prison without justice.
The Government through the Secretary, Advisory Council on Prerogatory and Permanent Secretary, Political, Alhaji Baba Wachiko Yahaya said the Council will recommend to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello to apply leniency on inmates who have been on good behavior.
Government stated this when the team visited the Minna Old Prison and Minna Medium Prisons, where prisoners scheduled for amnesty were presented to them for the governor’s leniency and pardon.
According to him, “the state government is ready to grant amnesty to well behaved inmates and those who have certain challenges especially on health grounds.
“We discovered that most of the inmates are youths and they either have less than Six months or could not pay their fine options to gain freedom.”
He added that the exercise will help the government have comprehensive detail of the number of inmates across the state and those that can be co-opted and integrated back into the society.
One of the inmates, turned General Pastor of the Minna Old Prisons, Ejike Nwaebeko assured that he will be of good behavior when granted amnesty.
“I committed the crime when I was a very young boy. Now, I have turned my craftiness into becoming a Craftsman, ever since I arrived here (Prisons), I told myself that I was foolish but now I am wiser and better. I am teaching other inmates on how to become Craftsmen when they also leave here.”
The team said it will consider inmates on the ground of ill health, age, less than 6 months left to serve, good conduct and those with option of fine and compensation.
Among those being considered for amnesty are two blind inmates, a 70 year old retired soldier, a mentally deranged inmate and others.