Advisory Council On Prerogative Of Mercy Worry Over 222 Inmates On Death Row In Delta Prison
The Chairman of the Delta State Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy, Chief Patrick Okpakpor, has expressed serious concern on the large number of persons on death row at the Warri Medium Security Prison, urging the Federal Government to have a second look into the issue of death sentence.
Chief Okpakpor, the first Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Delta State, who led other members of the Council on its maiden visit to the Okere Prison in Warri, expressed shock at the undignified and dehumanized conditions inmates are detained.
The Chairman of the Advisory Council who was conducted round the detention facilities by the Deputy Controller of Prison, Mr. Airiohuodion Sam, was stunned by the magnitude of congestion which he said should be treated as a national emergency.
He charged the Federal government to make adequate budgetary provisions to expand the already over stretched facility, originally designed and built to accommodate maximum of three hundred and seven inmates but now accommodates over one thousand, five hundred inmates.
In the cause of interaction with some of the inmates, members of the Committee comprising of the Secretary, Barr Mrs Uju Monye, Dr. Samuel Efetobor, Barr John Okoriko and Barr. F. Njuokuemeni, were astonished with the discovery of a husband and wife jailed for 37 years, leaving their six children at the mercy of society.
The 71 year old man, who is already partially blind, pleaded with the Committee to consider his plight and that of his wife by granting them pardon.
The 222 condemned convicts later physically appeared before the Chairman and Members of the Council to ascertain some of the claims contained in their applications.
While explaining the purpose of the visit to journalists, the Chairman of the Advisory Council disclosed that, as a statutory body empowered to advise the Governor in exercise of powers vested on him by the constitution in granting amnesty to prisoners, said the Council will make appropriate recommendations for clemency to deserving inmates on death row and others serving various terms of imprisonment to the Governor.
He emphasized that only qualified applications received by the Council would be considered and forwarded for approval.
The Deputy Controller in charge of the Warri Prison, Mr. Airiohuodion Sam, who expressed joy on the Advisory Council’s visit to the Warri Medium Security Prison, appealed to both the Federal and the Delta State government to intervene in the crisis situation currently experienced by the Prisons in the State by building additional facilities to accommodate condemned convicts.