Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State yesterday for the first time in the state since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, granted unconditional pardon to two inmates of the Enugu Prisons and equally commuted death sentences of five other inmates to life imprisonment.
Speaking at the Enugu State Headquarters of the Nigeria Prisons, Governor Ugwuanyi, who was represented by the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Hon. Miletus Eze, noted the exercise was in line with the government’s policy on “Justice for All”.
Hon. Eze also said that Ugwuanyi exercised his constitutional power by granting the amnesty to some inmates of the Enugu Prisons, adding that the governor has the discretionary power to do so.
“The Governor of Enugu State has performed his statutory duty by granting amnesty to some inmates of the Enugu Prisons.
“As you heard from the Enugu Prisons Comptroller General, since 1999, this exercise has not been carried out in Enugu State but because of the nature of the governor we have, he has decided to carry out this function”, Eze said.
Asked whether the exercise would henceforth be carried out regularly, Eze, who is also the chairman of the Enugu State’s Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy noted that “if you recommend daily to him, he has the discretion to decide whether to exercise it or not, but I can assure you that with the type of disposition he has, it will be done from time to time.”
Earlier, the Enugu Prisons Comptroller, Mr. Ifeanyi Isaiah Amalili, who received the governor’s order for clemency from the Attorney-General described the gesture as historic, stressing that the governor had done a noble thing that would go a long way to give huge relief to the inmates that were affected.
“We extend our gratitude to the Governor because since 1999 this is the first time we are witnessing this. Other state governors have been coming here to free some of the inmates but Enugu has never done it. It is a major milestone.
“I appeal that this effort should be more regular. I believe that the journey has started. By January next year, I pray that others will get this benefit.”
The Comptroller who equally disclosed that Ugwuanyi was the first governor of the state to visit the prison formations, thanked him for providing some basic facilities for the Prisons.