Nigeria inaugurates committee on prerogative of mercy

Rahila Lassa from Abuja 

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, AGF Abubakar Malami.

The Nigerian government has inaugurated a twelve member advisory committee on the prerogative of mercy.

The committee was inaugurated by the Secretary to the Government of the Nigeria, Mr Boss Mustapha in Abuja, Nigeria.

The committee has been established to guide the President in the process of granting presidential pardon to eligible inmates and ex convicts as well as help in the decongestion of the prisons across the country.

Represented by the Chairman of the Panel and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, he said that the ceremony was a signal to the committee members to brace up to the responsibility embedded in the assignment as captured in section 175 of the constitution.

“Presidential advisory committee on the prerogative of mercy is a four-year tenure committee constituted fundamentally to assist Mr President in the discharge of his constitutional duties of not only granting pardon to deserving prisoners and ex convicts and integrating them into the society, but also to work towards decongesting the prisons nationwide, “ he said.

“I appreciate that the constitution of the committee by Mr President and Commander in Chief will go a long way in bringing about a drastic reduction in the population of the prisoners, in the nation’s prison system that has become a block of the nation’s criminal justice system,” he noted.

The SGF noted that the terms of reference of the committee were statutory and constitutional as stated in the 1999 constitution of the country.

He added that the responsibility of the committee is sensitive and enormous and the purpose for its constitution and its guiding principles must be completely adhered to so as not to elude the process.

On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr William Alo, said that the committee was reconstituted on June 19 by President Muhammadu Buhari , following a recommendation by the Secretary to the Government, Mr Boss Mustapha.

The membership of the committee, as approved by President Buhari, has the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, as the Chairman while the Inspector General of Police,while the Director, Special Duties Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, is the Secretary.

Representatives of the Nigerian Prison Service, the National Human Rights Commission,  Christian Association of Nigeria, and the Jama’atul Nasir Islam, are members of the committee.