Lucky Escape: Governor Commutes Death Sentences On 14 Prisoners


BEVERLY HILLS, October 2, (THEWILL) – Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state has ordered that death sentences on 14 prisoners of Ebonyi origin in various prisons in the state be commuted to life imprisonment.

The governor gave the order in Abakaliki during activities to mark the 56th Independence Day and 20th year of Ebonyi creation.

NAN reports that the governor also granted unconditional pardon to 32 inmates for offences which they were jailed.

“The order is to the comptrollers of Enugu, Abakaliki and Afikpo prisons and pursuant to powers of Section 212 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, conferred on me as the state governor,” he said.

“These decisions were reached after due consultation with the state's Committee on Prerogative of mercy and other enabling powers and this serves as the official warrant.”

Those whose death sentences were annulled included Igantius Ochioso, Paul Ominyi, Nnachi Asula, Sunday Ukpai, Onyebuchi Eze and Ikechukwu Nwafor.

Those who were pardoned unconditionally include Ogbuzuru Odoh, Ogbonnia Odom, Shadrack Eboko, Ezi Ekum, Nduisi Nwodo, Paul Una, Musa Bako, Chikwu Ndukwe, Mgbeleke Oduma, Ugo Ogbuba, among others.

“The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Augustine Nwankwagu, is advised to submit report on the released inmates' conduct to my office, to ascertain whether they still pose threat to society,” he said.

The governor also announced a five per cent increase in workers' salaries with effect from Oct.1 and thanked labour leaders in the state for their understanding and support in reaching the decision.

“The government has also recalled the sacked workers of the state College of Education, Ikwo, and the 37 workers of the proscribed Ebonyi State Environmental Protection Agency

“We would also release workers' promotion results and look into the issue of pension and gratuity which totals over five billion naira,” he said.

The governor also noted that the government would inaugurate a department 'of tomorrow ' that would rehabilitate indigenes engaged in various forms of menial jobs across the country.

“We would be placing advertorials in national media on Tuesday , urging them to return to the state to learn the assemblage, repairs and maintenance of equipment such as tractors, tricycles, among others,” he said.

Similarly, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade has granted freedom to 20 inmates of the Ikoyi prison awaiting trial.

The Chief Judge who visited the prison as part of the activities marking the beginning of the 2016/2017 legal year said they were released on exercise of powers granted her under the Criminal Justice (Release from Custody), Special Provisions Act, Cap C40 2004 Laws of the Federation.

She admonished those released from prison custody “to go and sin no more”.

Story by David Oputah