The Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has turned down appeals by wives of those detained for politically-motivated killings in the state, saying his “hands are tied.”
He said the issues had to do with adherence to the rule of law and the detainees would not be released without due process.
Mr. Fayose spoke at an inspection of the Ado-Ekiti prison facilities on Wednesday.
The detainees include a former chairman of the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria, Rotimi Olabiwonu; his predecessor, Bayo Aderiye ; the Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress in Ekiti, Niyi Adedipe, and Sola Adenijo.
They were accused of complicity in the deaths of Ayo Jeje and Omolafe Aderiye, officials of the National Union of Road Trasnort Workers, NURTW, in Ekiti.
The wives of the detainees had made several appeals to the governor, urging him to use his good office to ensure their release, asserting that they were innocent and falsely accused.
The killings occurred at the height of political activities leading up the last governorship election in the state.
“My hands are tied because I have to follow due process , because left to me, I would have loved to release all inmates,” Mr. Fayose said.
“We will definitely pardon some inmates but we have to follow due process. We must have the facts and figures before vetoing their release.”
The governor who was accompanied by the chief judge of the state, Ayodeji Daramola, lamented the poor state of facilities at the prisons.
“We have come to see the facilities in the prisons and see how we can help. We have seen the facilities here and we are not happy,” he said.
Mr. Fayose described the prison facilities as dilapidated and unsuitable for human habitation, and called on the federal government to immediately commence overhauling of all prisons across the country.
“The buildings here house almost 200 people but whatever their offences they are still entitled to good condition of living,” he said.
“We therefore appeal to the Federal Government to upgrade the facilities available for prison inmates in the state here.
“The walls surrounding the prison are vulnerable, that was why we experienced the last time prison break, but that would not happen again.
“As a state government, we will support the prison with an additional building, a borehole, health facilities and toilet facilities.
“We appeal to the government to live up to their responsibilities. I also appeal to the prison inmates, you must be of good conduct so you can get pardon. Also make sure that you repent truly.”