Presidential Committee on Prerogative of Mercy considering 320 convicts for pardon

The Presidential Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy (PACPM) has been reconvened to consider more than 320 applications from convicts seeking  for pardon.

The Committee which has being in abeyance since March 2020 was on Tuesday reconvened by the Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami SAN on the directive of Mr. President .

Amidst fear that some hardened criminals and  terrorists in custody may be freed, the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume yesterday cautioned the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy to ensure that only genuinely repentant inmates are recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari for state pardon.
Akume gave the advice at the reconvening of the committee in Abuja.The committee is charged with the responsibility of recommending to the president, prisoners and ex-convicts, who deserve presidential pardon, as well as work towards decongesting correctional centers across the country.
He observed that the committee through the effective discharge of its functions would no doubt bring a drastic reduction in the population of inmates in correctional centers in the country, he stated that the release of unrepentant criminals would have an adverse effect on society.
He said, “I will like to use this forum to remind members again that the objective of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy, is to interview, select and determine convicts ex-convicts to be granted pardon for onward recommendation to the National Council of State being headed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
” To this end, Mr President, will be relying on you as a committee, to do what is required of him constitutionally, to grant pardon to deserving inmates, convicts and ex-convicts
” I want to urge you all to tread with caution; while investigating inmates in order not to release unrepentant criminals back into society and thereby causing more social problems in the country”.

Addressing the Committee ,the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Malami, noted that numerous  requests  for clemency from convicts serving at custodial centres across the country have flood the committee Secretariat .
According to the AGF, it has become expedient for the committee to be reconvened to carry out its duty again.

He recalled that the FG had in 2018 constituted the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy on June 19, 2018 with AGF as the chairman.

While  the first phase of the exercise lasted and made its recommendation the Council of State at its meeting held on Thursday the 27th of August, 2020, considered, ratified and validate the grant of the Presidential Pardon on 2 inmates who  got Presidential Pardon, 39 others got clemency and 4 ex-convicts were granted Presidential Pardon.

According to him, “The core mandate of the committee is that of assisting Mr. President in the discharge of his constitutional responsibility of granting Pardon and Clemency to convicts or ex- convicts in deserving cases and reintegrating them back into the society.
” The move is geared towards decongesting Correctional Centres and  discharge the role constitutionally betowed in him in line with Section 175 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
” You may wish to recall that in March, 2020, Mr President considered and approved the implementation of some urgent measures as a way of controlling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Malami then charged the committee to carry out the assignment objectively in the public interest and the interest of Justice.

Responding briefly on behalf of the Committee, Ambassador Anthonia Ekpa praised the initiative of President Buhari’s . She assured that the committee shall justify the confidence reposed on it.