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Grant inmates pardon, clemency – Former NBA scribe, Aruoture writes Okowa

The immediate past Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA Warri branch, John E. Aruoture has written an open letter to the Delta Sta...

The immediate past Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA Warri branch, John E. Aruoture has written an open letter to the Delta State Governor, Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa with an appeal for him to emulate the Federal Government by granting pardon/clemency to inmates in the five centres of the Nigerian Correctional Centres with a view to decongest same in the State.

The Warri based legal practitioner who is also a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NBA national body said, “By virtue of these visits and resultant interviews of officials and prisoners, the need to decongest the over-crowded prisons and their over-burdened facilities has become pertinent.

“From available data, all over the nation, there are approximately 74,127 inmates in the nation’s correctional centres. About 52,226 are pre-trial inmates, 21,901 are convicts, with some of these convicts on death row.

“Our beloved Delta State needs to grant pardon/clemency to convicts of federal crimes, emulating the Federal Government,” he said.

While shedding light on the Governors need to balance the decision on who should be pardoned, he further reminded him that there are inmates who have truly repented as well as others who have spent so much time in the correctional centers and could be said to have duly paid for their crimes.

“In addition, there are inmates who have become sources of positive influence/role models in many positive ways in the various correctional centers. Some of these inmates have become pastors and imams, etc in the correctional center and have dedicated their lives to the service of God and humanity.

“It is my humble suggestion that when these repentant inmates are released, they should be given a mandate to report to an administrative body for probation for a period of between 6 months to 2 years until they have shown that they have become full responsible members of the society deserving of the new privileges accorded them.

Noting the immense benefits of such policy, he cited “the favourable impression it would give about the Governors intentions, decongestion of the correctional centers which will allow for better facility management, it would also allow for the setting up of proper probation managers, made up of respectable and trustworthy members of the society thereby leading to a well streamlined probation program which could be used effectively all over Nigeria.

“Suffice to state that your Deputy, His Excellency, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, who is also a highly esteemed legal practitioner, while acting in conjunction with Christ Embassy Church, had done a wonderful job of trying to ensure the inmates of the correctional centers have a paradigm shift in their mental attitude, geared towards steering them away from all forms of criminal activities. His Excellency, the Deputy Governor, thus has a first-hand knowledge and experience of the challenges of the correctional centers, and more importantly of the need to rehabilitate the inmates into the larger society.”

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