The Council of State has approved the presidential pardon granted late Ambrose Ali, the first democratically elected governor of old Bendel State (now Edo and Delta states).
Mr Ali, after whom the Ambrose Ali University in Edo State is named, was controversially indicted over a N900,000 scandal while he was alive.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who briefed journalists after Thursday’s council meeting, said Mr Ali was pardoned “over N900,000 which he later paid but was convicted.”
Apart from Mr Ali, others pardoned by the Council of State include two retired army officers, Col Moses Effiong and Major E. J. Olarenwaju, who were said to be involved in a coup attempt during the Ibrahim Babangida military rule.
The council also pardoned one Ajayi Babalola.
Attorney-general Abubakar Malami also told State House reporters that asides the quartet, pardon was granted to “two inmates for pardon, 39 inmates for clemency.”
“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,” Mr Malami said.
“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 the prerogative of mercy was one of such considerations by Mr. President,” he noted.
He added that he presented a memo before the Council seeking to appoint Namoso Ekanem (Akwa Ibom, South-south) and Mammud Abubakar Mogaji (Niger, North Central) as representatives of the Nigerian Bar Association at the federal judicial service commission.
“The law confers on Mr. President to appoint members of the federal judicial service commission, subject to consultation with the council of State,” Mr Malami said.
The Council of State is an advisory organ of the Nigerian government, chaired by the President and deputized by the Vice-President.
It consists of all former Presidents and Heads of the State, all former Chief Justices, President of the Senate, the House Speaker, State Governors and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
They, upon being invited, advise a sitting president on how to maintain public order within the country or any other policy issue tabled by the president.
Thursday’s council meeting was attended by five former Nigerian leaders, Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim Babangida, Ernest Shonekan, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Goodluck Jonathan, as well as Senate President Ahmad Lawan.