By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom granted clemency to 16 inmates at the Maximum Security Custody Center, MSCC, Makurdi on Thursday.
The Governor said that the decision to pardon the inmates was based on the directive of the Federal Government as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor who was represented at the event by the Attorney General and Justice Commissioner, Michael Gusa, urged inmates to avoid the mistakes that landed them in prison as they had been given a second chance to be good citizens.
He tasked inmates to enter the New Year as Reformed people and help shape the character of members of their respective families and communities to stay away from crime.
The governor’s decision also followed the recommendation of the Benue State Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy.
Previously, the Assistant Controller, Nigerian Correctional Service, Makurdi, Dr. Alhaji Thomas thanked Governor Ortom, the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice and the State Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy for assisting inmates, as the law also It would decongest the prison.
Responding on behalf of the other pardoned inmates, Sani Alhassan thanked Governor Ortom for keeping his promise to release more inmates during his last visit to the Correctional Center.
He said that he had been in prison since 2008 and was happy to return home, assuring that he and the other inmates were Reformed people.
Of the 16 inmates, 11 were those who could not pay the fine option during their sentence and the government decided to pay their fines, while five were those who had only a few months to serve their sentence.