Nigerian govt inaugurates committee to assist President discharge Prerogative of Mercy responsibility

Nigerian govt inaugurates committee to assist President discharge Prerogative of Mercy responsibility
August 28 21:39 2018

By Ahmed Idris

The Nigerian government on inaugurated the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy headed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami.

Other members of the committee are the representative of the Inspector General of Police, a permanent secretary from the Office of the SGF, representative of the Nigerian Prison Service, representative of the National Human Rights Commission, representative of Jama’atu Nasril Islam, representative of Christian Association of Nigeria and four eminent Nigerians.

The committee has a four-year life span and is charged with the responsibility of assisting President Muhammadu Buhari to discharge his constitutional responsibility of pardoning deserving prisoners and ex-convicts and to work towards decongesting the prisons nationwide.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, said the reconstitution of the committee was approved by the President in June this year.

Represented by the Minister of Justice, the SGF said the committee would go a long way in bringing about a drastic reduction in the population of prisoners in prisons across the country.

“The responsibility of the committee is sensitive and enormous. The purpose for its constitution and its guiding principles must be completely adhered to do as not to elude the process.

“The Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy is an administrative committee established to assist the president discharge of his responsibility of granting pardon to deserving in mates and ex-convicts,” he said.

He said inauguration of the committee kickstarts the processes leading to a nationwide prison visits and consequent recommendation of eligible ex-convicts and convicts for presidential pardon.

The committee’s terms of reference are statutory as contained in Section 175 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution which states that:

(1) The President may –
(a) grant any person concerned with or convicted of any offence created by an Act of the National Assembly a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions;
(b) grant to any person a respite, either for an indefinite or for a specified period, of the execution of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence;
(c) substitute a less severe form of punishment for any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence; or
(d) remit the whole or any part of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence or of any penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to the State on account of such an offence.
(2) The powers of the President under subsection (1) of this section shall be exercised by him after consultation with the Council of State.
(3) The President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State, may exercise his powers under subsection (1) of this section in relation to persons concerned with offences against the army, naval or air-force law or convicted or sentenced by a court-martial.