The Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy, PACPM, plans to consider 25 inmates in Kuje Prison for Presidential pardon by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Controller General of Nigerian Prisons, Ahmed Jafaru, presented the inmates while receiving members of the committee on Monday in Abuja.
Jafaru, represented by Assistant Controller General of Prisons,Garba Shehu said the inmates were selected on the criteria of Federal offenses.
“The criteria for selecting them are those who committed federal offenses, those above 50 years of age and those who have few years to spend among others.
“We will submit our recommendations to the presidency and they will take it up from there.
“We are also trying our best to speed up the process of inmates who are still awaiting trial,” he said.
In his remarks, the Controller of Prisons, FCT Command, Sylvester Nwakuche commended President Buhari for setting up the committee to release inmates that deserved his mercy.
Nwakuche noted that the prison facility had the capacity of 560 inmates but was accommodating 800 inmates and over 600 who were awaiting trial.
He added that some of the inmates awaiting trial had spent over 10 years in prison.
“I want to assure you that some of the inmates presented have been reformed, rehabilitated and ready for reintegration into the society.
“I am convinced that the essence to decongest is not to afflict the society with felons but to give criminal justice system a human face.
“I urge the families of those that may be opportune to benefit from the exercise to welcome them in order to avoid the temptation of them going back into the waiting arms of members of the underworld,” he said.
Abubakar Malami, Minister of Justice and the Chairman of the Committee said the committee was set up as part of efforts of the present administration to decongest prisons nationwide.
Mr Malami, who was represented by Ayoola Daniels said that the visit was primarily to identify and recommend inmates who deserved presidential pardon.
He added that the committee may also recommend a less severe form of punishment imposed on a convict for an offense.
He noted that the committee had so far visited prisons in 11 states considering cases of convicts with reference to laid down criteria.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that members of the committee interviewed the inmates on what they learnt from prison and how they intend to move on with their lives.
The members of the committee cautioned the inmates against crime after being released, stating that if they were caught again, they would be sentenced to life in prison.
NAN reports that most of the inmates to be considered were convicted for illegal possession of arms and drugs.
PACPM was inaugurated in August to assist the president in discharge of his responsibility of granting pardon to deserving convicts and ex-convicts.