A 22-year-old prisoner on the death roll in Delta State Wednesday narrowly missed the chance of getting a total pardon from the State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, following an appeal filled in his case by his relatives.
The young man (names withheld), who was recently sentenced to death for an undisclosed crime, would have benefited from the Governor’s 54th independence anniversary benevolence alongside three prisoners on the death row, who were granted pardon.
Speaking in Asaba at the independence anniversary celebration, Gov. Uduaghan said he acted on powers conferred on him as Governor by section 212 of the 1999 constitution as amended.
According to him, the pardon became necessary following the recommendations by the State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy.
“I have granted pardon to three prisoners that were sentenced to death. I have granted them total pardon following the recommendation of the State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy. Also the death sentences of nine others, following the recommendations of the same council, I have also committed the death sentences to various terms of imprisonment ranging from ten years to 15 years and life imprisonment,” he stated.
He however explained that his hands were tied in respect of a particular case of a 24-year-old, who was recently sentenced to death following an appeal filed by the relatives of the convict.
“Once there is an appeal, we cannot do anything about pardon because the Supreme Court frowns at it. By appealing, it simply means the people have not agreed that the boy has been convicted. The only way we can proceed is for the appeal to be withdrawn. So I am publicly telling the whole world that the stage that we are. It is not because the Governor is not aware of the appeals for his release but the Governor’s hands are tied because the case in the appeal court. If the people are able to withdraw the case, we will look at it and do something about it,” he added.
Besides those on the death roll, nine other prisoners had their death sentences committed to various terms of imprisonment ranging from ten years to fifteen years and life imprisonment.