The Council of States, an organ saddled with the responsibility of advising the executive arm of government on major policy decisions has granted pardons to former governors of Taraba State, Jolly Nyame, and former governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, among.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, made this known when he addressed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council’s meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja.
Members of the council include the President, Vice President, past Presidents, Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives, as well as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, past and serving.
Others are the Attorney-General of the Federation, all State Governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The affected 159 beneficiaries were inmates convicted and currently serving sentences for various offences.
Mr Malami said the recommendation came after the council received the report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy.
“In the exercise of the powers on the granting of pardon, precisely on August 28, 2018, the President put in place a committee known as the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy.
“It was saddled with the responsibility of visiting the country’s correctional facilities and making recommendations to the President on the exercise of his power of mercy and compassion, to either grant pardon to those that had been convicted, clemency, or some other form of concessions by way of reduction in sentence and term.
“It was in the exercise of such duties and responsibility in line with the terms of the Committee on Prerogative of Mercy that we presented the report to the President and the requirements of the law on the exercise of that mercy and pardon, should seek the advice of the Council of State.
“In line with that, a memo was presented by the president this afternoon to the council, through which the report of the Committee was presented to the council for its advice.
“The Committee submitted to 162 people presented to the President for such consideration.
“26 of the inmates are recommended for a presidential pardon, 85 surviving ex-convicts were recommended for a presidential pardon, and one deceased person was recommended for a posthumous presidential pardon.
”27 inmates were recommended for presidential clemency, 13 inmates were for a review of their sentences or prison terms, 10 inmates were presented for a reduced sentence from death to life imprisonment.
“In total, 162 convicts were presented for the President’s consideration for pardon and mercy”, Mr Malami said.
He added that the Council of State endorsed 159 out of the 162 convicts and advised the president to grant them pardon and mercy, rejecting three of the recommended convicts.
According to the minister, the Council rejected the proposal to grant pardon to one of the prisoners sentenced to 120 years for stealing over N25 billion.
“The reason for seeking pardon was because of life-threatening illness.
“The second person was convicted for forgery, sentenced to 14 years and had stayed in prison for a year and six months.
“The third person was obtaining money by false pretences and was sentenced to seven years,” he explained.
Also speaking, the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume, disclosed that the Council approved the conferment of National Honours on 434 Nigerians.
He said: “The council approved the conferment of National Honours Award on 434 Nigerians who had distinguished themselves in various fields of endeavour.
“It is supposed to be an annual event, where the President confers on Nigerians, men and women of integrity and character, found worthy to be conferred with our national honours.”