By Olalekan Awojodu
The Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy (PACPM) Tuesday reconvened against the background of about 320 applications of requests for the grant of Presidential Pardon and Clemency before it.
The Federal Government made the disclosure at the meeting of the PACPM committee held at the Ministry of Justice in Abuja.
Giving a keynote address, the Attorney General of the Federation, Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN who confirmed the requests noted that the committee Secretariat was being inundated with myriad of requests on behalf of some convicts in custodial centres across the country.
According to the AGF, it has become expedient for the committee to be reconvened to carry out its duty again.
The Federal government had in 2018 constituted the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy on June 19, 2018 with Malami as the chairman.
Consequently, the Council of State at its meeting held on Thursday the 27th of August, 2020, considered, ratified and validate the grant of the Presidential Pardon.
While the first phase of the exercise lasted, 2 inmates got Presidential Pardon, 39 got clemency and 4 ex-convicts were granted Presidential Pardon.
He said, “The core mandate of the committee is that of assisting Mr. President in the discharge of his constitutional responsibility of granting Pardon and Clemency to convicts or ex- convicts in deserving cases and reintegrating them back into the society.
“The move the is geared towards decongesting Correctional Centres and discharge the role constitutionally bestowed on him in line with Section 175 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
” You may wish to recall that in March, 2020, Mr President considered and approved the implementation of some urgent measures as a way of controlling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Malami then charged the committee to carry out the assignment objectively in the public interest and the interest of Justice.
In his own remarks, the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume noted that the reconvening of the committee would go a long way in bringing about a drastic reduction in the population of inmates in the nation’s Correctional Centres.
Akume who expressed worry about the situation added that the menace has become a stain on the nation’s Criminal Justice System.
Responding briefly on behalf of the Committee, Ambassador Anthonia Ekpa who praise the President Buhari’s initiative assured that the committee shall justify the confidence reposed on it.