The National Council of State meeting presided over by President Muhammedu Buhari on Thursday ratified the presidential pardon granted to former governor Professor Ambrose Alli (governor of the now-defunct Bendel state, 1979—1983, now Edo and Delta states), who was indicted by the the then military government for N900,000 fraud.
Although Ali later paid the money back to government, he was convicted.
Others whose pardon were also approved are Col. Moses Effiong, Major E.J Olarenwaju (for attempted coup in the Ibrahim Babangida era) and Ajayi Olusola Babalola.
Addressing State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting which had in attendance four former heads of states – General Yakubu Gowon, General Ibrahim Babangida; Chief Earnest Shonekan, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and Goodluck Jonathan, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the ratification follows his presentation of a memo, relating to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy.
According to him: “The memo presented for consultation in line with one of the constitutional requirements and consideration of grant of pardon to 45 persons, two inmates for pardon, 39 inmates for clemency and four ex-convict for presidential pardon.
“To further clarify on the prerogative of mercy, Mr. president with COVID-19 pandemic, has directed the decongestion of our correctional centers across the country. And by way of collaborative action, the governors, heads of courts across the nations, have worked assiduously in collaboration with the presidential committee on decongestion of our correctional centers and at the end of the day we have succeeded in taking out over 4,000 inmates out of our correctional centers across the country.
“What we have today is a consolidation of what has been done and the strategies put in place to see to the decongestion of our correctional centers.
“As you are aware, more than 70 percent inmates in our correctional centers were awaiting trial across the country and a lot of considerations were put in place to ensure our correctional centers are decongested d the prerogative of mercy was one of such considerations by Mr. President.”
Malami said the the Council of State also approved the appointment of two new legal practitioners as members of Federal Judicial Service Commission.
The AGF explained that the law confers on President Buhari the right to appoint members of the Federal Judicial Service Commission, subject to consultation with the council of State.
He said: “The exercise this morning relating to the presentation of the council memo was for the purpose of fulfilling the constitutional righteousness relating to the appointment of the two new legal practitioners, in essence it is to consult with the council of state out of desire for compliance with constitutional requirements.
“The two members to represent Nigerian Bar Association on the federal judicial service commission are Namoso Ekanem (SAN), from Akwa Ibom state representing the South South geo-political zone and
Mammud Abubakar Mogaji (SAN) from Niger State to represent the North Central geo-political zone.”