Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, on Wednesday, April 22, has granted amnesty to no fewer than 30 inmates serving different jail terms in Ado-Ekiti Correctional Centre as part of effort to check the spread of Coronavirus.
The State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Olawale Fapohunda, disclosed on Wednesday in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
He said the measure was taken in view of the danger inherent in the spread of COVID-19.
He said the decision was reached consequent upon careful consideration of the application for clemency from 45 inmates, saying the 30 beneficiaries went through a rigorous process of screening.
According to him: “The Ekiti State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy met on Wednesday, 15 April 2020 to consider applications for clemency from 45 prisoners in the Ado-Ekiti Correctional Centre.
“The Council considered these applications on merit and recommended 30 inmates who fell within the category of inmates stated in the public notice published by the Ministry of Justice on Monday, 13 April 2020.
“The Council considered four categories of prisoners which include persons held in pre-trial detention, particularly those for minor or low-risk offenses; women with children on pretrial detention or convicted for non-serious offenses with less than 18 months to serve their sentences; elderly prisoners or those with underlying life-threatening health issues; and inmates convicted for minor, low risk of offenses particularly those who have 18 months or less remaining of their sentence to serve.”
The Commissioner added the prisoners were released after exhaustive consideration of the recommendations of the Advisory Council by Fayemi.
He stated further his principal had directed that the beneficiaries of the Governor’s prerogative of mercy should be enrolled in the list of the vulnerable persons on the database of Ekiti State Covid-19 palliative programme.
On the fate of pre-trial detainees whose trials have been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown, Fapohunda said his office is currently in consultation with the leadership of the state chapter of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) on the needs to facilitate criminal trial through the use of technology.