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Borno’s Governor Zulum Frees 93 Inmates Over COVID-19 Concerns

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Babagana Zulum, the governor of Borno State has granted pardon to 93 inmates serving different jail terms in Correctional Centres across the state.

The move is in line with the Presidential directives to State governors to decongest correctional centers as a step to control the outbreak of the coronavirus in the centers.

Kakashehu Lawan, the chairman of Borno State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy who is also the  State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, in a statement on Tuesday,  May 5, 2020, made available to journalists in Maiduguri said.

“Gov. Zulum graciously approved the state pardon in line with the policy of the Federal Government to decongest Custodial Centres, as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country,” Lawan informed.

According to him, a  total of about 58 inmates were pardoned from the state’s Maximum Security Custodial Centre in Maiduguri, 32 from the Medium Security Custodial Centre, and six from Biu Medium Security Custodial Centre.

The amnesty he explained was approved following the recommendation of the Borno State Advisory Council On Prerogative of Mercy, stressing that, “ 96 applications were received from the Controller of the Correctional Service, Borno State Command and were considered based on those that had served their terms with less than six months to go, long-term prisoners that had served for more than 10 years with a good record.

“Others included illness likely to lead to death or terminal sickness, old age, those with the option of fine not exceeding N50,000 and have no pending cases, minor offenses, low-risk offenders and those to be considered on the compassionate ground”.

Lawan added that  19 among the inmates whose terms were less than six months, were considered, while four among the inmates were pardoned based on terminal health challenges.

“The council also found, 41 inmates from Maximum, Medium, and Biu Medium Custodial Centres, who were convicted and sentenced to various terms of imprisonments with the option of fine not exceeding N50,000 and had no other pending cases against them.

“Additionally, 26 other inmates, comprising 23 males and 3 females were released based on compassionate grounds,” Lawan said.

Speaking on the welfare of inmates in the centers, the Attorney General explained that Borno correctional centers were hitherto not over-crowded.

“We have a committee comprising the members from the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, Police, DSS, Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, and Legal Aid Council, who assessed all the facilities to ensure that the inmate’s welfare is well catered for.

“As of May 5, the Maximum, Medium and Biu facilities has 2,690 inmates with about 576 vacancies. With the current Amnesty, the center is open for about 669 persons,” he stated.

He informed that each of the inmates was given N10,000 as a token, just as a vehicle was provided to convey them to their respective destinations, as a result of the lockdown.

He said that an additional N500,000 was donated to the state Maximum Security Custodial Centres, as part of the efforts to improve services at the facility.

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