The Minister, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for putting a mechanism in place to decongest prisons in the country and set the nation’s criminal justice system on the right track, especially in addressing the issue of high number of inmates awaiting trial.
The Minister gave the commendation when he received the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy on a courtesy visit to his office on Monday, 26th November, 2018. Malam Bello assured that the FCT Administration will work with the committee and other bodies set up by the president to decongest prisons and fast track trials.
Malam Bello who also commended the committee for the noble work it is doing, said the FCTA will continue to partner with all the agencies handling the prison system with the aim of decongesting the prisons and saving inmates who, for no fault of theirs, have over-stayed their time in prison.
He praised the Minister of interior, Abdurrahman Dambazau for all efforts to implement the prison reform; by improving welfare of inmates, infrastructure and the purchase of vehicles for movement of prisoners to the courts.
The Minister told his guests that as part of efforts to align itself with the desire of the President to decongest prisons, FCTA has identified prison sites in the FCT and have communicated same to the minister of interior so that it would be considered in the Ministry’s plan for the building of more prison facilities.
While assuring it of necessary support to achieve its mandate, the Minister advised the committee to work with traditional rulers and area council Chairmen in the FCT to identify prisoners deserving of presidential mercy.
Earlier in his address, the Vice Chairman of the Committee and leader of the delegation, Mr. William Alo who is also the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, Office of the Secretary to government of the Federation, said the main purpose of the visit was to identify and recommend inmates in the FCT that should receive presidential pardon.
According to Alo, the committee is guided by the criteria that only deserving inmates are considered for presidential pardon, adding that it can also recommend a less severe form of punishment imposed on a convict.
He said following recommendation of the committee, the president is expected to grant pardon to deserving inmates after due consultation with the National Council of States.
Mr. Alo said the Committee has so far visited 11 states and have considered cases of convicts and ex-convicts using laid down criteria to ensure that only deserving persons were considered for the pardon.
He commended all stakeholders, especially the FCTA, working together to ensure that the objective of the committee is achieved.
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