The Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, on Tuesday, cautioned the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy to ensure that only genuinely repentant inmates are recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari for state pardon.
Akume gave the advice at the reconvening of the committee in Abuja.
The committee is charged with the responsibility of recommending to the president, prisoners and ex-convicts who deserve presidential pardon, as well as work towards decongesting correctional centres across the country.
While observing that the committee through the effective discharge of its functions would no doubt bring a drastic reduction in the population of inmates in correctional centres in the country, he stated that the release of unrepentant criminals would have an adverse effect on society.
He said: “I will like to use this forum to remind members again that the objective of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy is to interview, select and determine convicts to be granted pardon for onward recommendation to the National Council of State being headed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“To this end, Mr President will be relying on you, as a committee, to do what is required of him constitutionally, to grant pardon to deserving inmates, convicts and ex-convicts.
“I want to urge you all to tread with caution; while investigating inmates in order not to release unrepentant criminals back into society and thereby causing more social problems in the country.”
Meanwhile, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), who is also the chairman of the committee, disclosed that no fewer than 320 applications have been received for considerations for pardon.
He, therefore, urged the members to look into the applications and advised accordingly based on facts.
“You are to carry out your assignment objectively in the public interest and the interest of justice,” Malami said.
While assuring them of the president’s confidence in their abilities to deliver, the AGF added that Buhari is expectant of the outcome of their deliberations.
According to him, the president has so much expectations from them because their functions are in tandem with the president’s ongoing reforms in the justice sector, including current efforts of decongesting correctional centres nationwide.