Ortom wants to decongest prison, give second chance to repentant prisoners


By Isaac Kertyo

Gov Samuel Ortom of Benue State is set to decongest the prisons in the state and to give another chance to offenders who may have shown sufficient remorse. To achieve this, Ortom constituted the state’s committee on prerogative of mercy to visit prisons.

He said some prisoners were languishing for what they did not do or did not intend to do, saying a second chance would provide another window to live right.

On this, the people of Benue State were this charged to inculcate the habit of visiting prison’s always with the aim of showing kindness to those suffering incarceration which is also in line with the scriptures.

Gov Ortom, who gave the charge in Makurdi, while inaugurating the 18-member Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, lamented that some people were languishing in detention without any fault of theirs.

He noted that section 212 of the 1999 Constitution has given the governor powers to grant any person concerned with or convicted of an offense a state pardon after consultation with the advisory council, pointing out that members of the council have drawn it’s legitimacy from the Nigerian Constitution.

According to the governor, some people were held in captivity without any fault of theirs, others as a result of ignorance, while some others were implicated. “I therefore urge the council to visit prisons and review cases of inmates with a view to granting state pardon to those who might have repented in order to give them a second chance as well as ease prison decongestion”.

The governor while assuring members of the advisory council the support of government to enable them carry out the assignment, however, charged them to be steadfast in the discharge of their assignment.

Chairman of the advisory council, Mike Gusa, responding on behalf of other members, said they were aware of the governor’s passion for humanity and his dislike for injustice. They promised to swing into action with every diligence required with the view of setting those in captivity who innocent free.