Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom, has granted amnesty to 49 convicts on death row in Correctional Centers across the country.
Addressing newsmen yesterday in Makurdi, the Benue state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Micheal Gusa, noted the Governor premised his decision on the recommendations of the Benue state Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy and the Federal Government’s policy on the decongestion of Correctional Centers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “some of the convicts appealed their sentences, but their appeals failed, Governor Ortom out of compassion decided to invoke the provisions of the Constitution to give these citizens of Nigeria; these citizens of Benue reprieve and granted them amnesty, so that they will be released and granted a second chance.
“It is a humanitarian step taken in compliance with Section 212 of the 1999 Constitution. We had a total of 50 convicts who are affected, some of them are indegenes of Benue state, some are other Nigerians, who committed criminal activities; got arrested, tried and convicted here in Benue.
“Out of this number, 34 convicts who were sentenced to death and awaiting execution are now released. We also have 15 convicts who were actually sentenced to death, but now have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment.
“And we have another convict who has his jail term reduced from 21 years to 15 years imprisonment.”
The Attorney General further explained that “the Governor’s approval was also based on the recommendations that were made by the management of the Correctional Centers in Jos, Owerri and Sokoto, where you have these inmates.
“They made recommendations on the conduct of these convicts, while they served their jail terms and awaited execution. They testified to the effect that the convicts had changed from their bad ways and have become good citizens.”