Kwara and Ekiti States have announced plans to release low risk and vulnerable inmates from prisons as part of their moves to curtail the spread of Covid-19 in their states.
Speaking to journalists in Ado-Ekiti on Monday, Ekiti State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice said Gov. Kayode Fayemi had directed the ministry of justice to immediately convene a meeting of the state’s Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy to that effect.
“The governor is concerned about the possible impact of COVID-19 in the Ado Ekiti correctional centre.
“He has, therefore, directed that additional measures be taken to decongest the facility,” the attorney general said.
He noted that persons in detention were particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreak.
“The step will not only help protect the prisoners, but also the staff of the correctional centre, lawyers and others who provide support to the facility.
“The Ministry of Justice will compile a list of identified prisoners for the consideration of the meeting of the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy slated for Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
“We will focus on prisoners on pre-trial detention for minor or low risk offences,” he said.
Fapohunda said the ministry would collaborate with the Nigerian Bar Association, the National Human Rights Commission, Legal Aid Council as well as Civil Society Organisations working on prisoners’ rights in the exercise.
The commissioner for justice added that the measure was to ensure that no deserving inmate was left behind
In Kwara, the Government on Monday said it would grant pardon to nursing mothers and aged persons among others in the four correctional centres in the state.
Salman Jawondo, the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in llorin.
He, however, stressed that those to be pardoned in the correctional centres in llorin, Mandalla, Omuaran and Lafiagi were those who committed minor offences.
According to Jawondo, aged inmates in bad state of health as confirmed by a qualified medical practitioner and those who have nearly completed their jail terms will benefit from government’s gesture.
The commissioner said the gesture was in consonance with the Federal Government’s directive to states in the quest to prevent the spread of COVID-19
Jawondo, who did not specify the number of those to be freed, said the pardon would involve awaiting trial inmates and convicts.
He further said that the exercise would be carried out in collaboration with the state Ministry of Justice, judiciary and religious leaders.
The state had so far recorded four cases of coronavirus.