Sokoto - The Sokoto State Government on Wednesday unconditionally pardoned nine inmates of the Sokoto Central Prison and a dethroned monarch.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the inmates were released at a ceremony presided over by the Commissioner for Justice, Nuhu Adamu, on behalf of Gov. Aliyu Wamakko.
Adamu said that the gesture was in line with the powers conferred on Wamakko by Section 212 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
He said that seven out of the freed inmates were convicted, while two others were on awaiting trial list.
Similarly, four of the freed convicted inmates were females, three of whom each had a child aged between one and two years.
Adamu also announced the donation of N30 000 to each of the seven released convicted inmates, courtesy of the state government.
"The gesture is part of the efforts of the state government to further decongest the prison. It is has always been done during ceremonies like Sallah and Nigeria’s independence anniversary.
"This is a Holy Month of Ramadan and the state government has decided to extend the same gesture to commemorate the Eid-el-Fitri (Sallah),’’ he said.
Adamu said that the 10th beneficiary of the gesture was Suleiman Kurdulla, the former Village Head of Kurdulla in Gudu Local Government Area of the state.
He explained that "he was dethroned by the state government in 2005 and he petitioned the present administration, which had a second look at his case.
"The state committee on the prerogative of mercy recommended his unconditional pardon after concluding that his petition had merits and Wamakko approved of it,’’ he said.
The Controller of Prisons, Hajiya Hawwa’u Shettima, commended the state government for donating two 18-seater buses to the prison.
"We have to also commend the state government for establishing a Ramadan feeding centre at the prison during the outgoing Ramadan fast.
"This laudable gesture will go a long way to further decongest the prison. As at now, over 70 per cent of the inmates in the prison are awaiting trial,’’ Shettima said.
Shettima also cautioned the pardoned inmates to shun all acts capable of bringing them back to the prison.
A spokesman of the released inmates, Habibu Usman, commended the state government for the gesture and promised to be of good behaviour.