Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir EL-Rufai, has granted State Pardon to 13 convicted criminals serving jail terms in Kaduna Prisons as part of activities to celebrate Nigeria’s 57th Independence Anniversary. The Governor in his speech call on the people to work together towards equal opportunity and peaceful coexistence.
“It is customary to mark this anniversary of liberty by showing compassion to some of our convicted compatriots. Accordingly, I have acted on the recommendations made to me by the State Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, and exercised the power to grant amnesty to 13 convicts.
“These persons either have only a short time left to complete their sentences, or are now above the age of 60, with records of remorse and good conduct
The Governor has made it a customs to always grant State pardon on Independence Day.
In 2015, El-Rufai granted State Pardon to five prisoners awaiting execution and pardoned six others who are serving jail terms to mark the 55th anniversary of the country.
On the Nigeria’s 56th birthday, the Governor reciprocates the gesture by granting State pardon to three prisoners serving jail term. Two of the convicts were pardon on good conduct while the third was freed over ill-health. He was suffering from hypertension and diabetes.
The Governor was not the only “Good Samaritan” in 2016 as Bauchi State Governor released 22 prisoners serving different jail terms in the State.
Ebonyi State also granted pardon to 32 prisoners while Rivers State pardons 9 prisoners pardon
Other Governor who did the same for the 57th anniversary are Governor Obaseki of Edo State who approved the release 70 prisoners and Governor of Oyo State, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who also pardoned 21 prisoners.
While others make it once in a while, only Kaduna State has made it an annual event.
In April 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that 72.5% of prisoners in Nigeria are awaiting trial, meaning they have not been convicted, technically they are innocent. Further analysis of data shows that while the country had a prison capacity of just over 47,000 in 2013, it had a prison capacity of just over 50,000 in 2015, implication being that in 2 years just about 3,000 space was created for more criminals and accused persons.
In the same 2015 when Nigeria could only hold 50,000 prisoners, 45,000 new prisoners came into custody in the first 6 months alone, according to the report.