Abuja - Some nine years after his arrest and controversial conviction, a Delta State prisoner on death row, has been granted freedom ahead of Democracy Day.
Outgoing Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, announced he had granted pardon to Moses Akatugba, and three others facing the death penalty in the state.
The governor disclosed this after Valedictory State Executive Council Meeting in preparation for Friday’s inauguration of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as the State Governor.
He said the pardon was granted based on a report from the State Prerogative of Mercy Council and reviewed by the State Attorney General.
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“I have granted pardon to Moses Akatugba, I have signed his warrant of release, he was the young man who was sentenced to death when he was 16 years old and his case has been trending on the social media and Amnesty International has also intervened” Uduaghan said.
Akatugba, then a student, was just 16 years old when he was arrested under suspicion of armed robbery in Nigeria.
The arrest grabbed international headlines.
It is reported soldiers shot him in the hand and beat him on the head before taking him to the police station where he was assaulted repeatedly before he was forced to sign pre-written confessions.
Last year, Akatugba was sentenced to death, after eight years awaiting trial in prison.
It is said the sentence was based only on his forced confession and the testimony of the robbery victim, which was full of contradictions.
The governor also announced the pardon of three unnamed inmates facing death penalty in the state to prison terms. “I have also commuted the death sentence of three others to various prison terms” he added.
He meanwhile disclosed that the ban on youth activities in Oghara had been lifted. He thus charged the youth to maintain the peace and liaise with the traditional institution to work out modalities on how to carry out their activities.
- CAJ News