Abuja Minister grants amnesty to 29 prisoners

The prisoners had been serving in Kuje Medium Security Prison and the Suleja Prison.

The Minister of the FCT, Bala Mohammed, on Thursday granted amnesty to 29 prisoners who were convicted by various courts within the Federal Capital Territory judicial district for difference offences that have options of fine.

The prisoners had been serving in Kuje Medium Security Prison and the Suleja Prison.

Mr. Mohammed, who was represented at the ceremony at Kuje Prison by the General Counsel of the FCT Administration, Ima Okpongete, said the clemency was purposely designed to signpost the Ramadan season.

According to him, the gesture is in tandem with the disposition of his administration to impact positively on the welfare of the people, particularly the less privileged.

The minister said he decided to grant the convicts amnesty by offsetting their various fines because he believed that many of them could still be reformed and contribute positively to societal development.

He enjoined the beneficiaries of the gesture to permanently keep away from crime, so as not to find themselves in prison again. According to him, their freedom represents their last chance to chart a new path of orderliness, civility and good conduct as responsible members of the society.

The prisoners were convicted with varying amounts of fines, ranging from N55,000 to N3,000. However, due to their lowly economic backgrounds, they were unable to pay the fines and had to be committed to prison. The Minister took the decision to grant amnesty to the prisoners following his recent inspection of the prisons to ascertain the condition of inmates as well as facilities on ground.

In approving the unconditional release of the convicts, the minister offset the total of N543, 500 being the combined fines of the 29 affected prisoners. He also presented the sum of N10,000 to each of them to enable them transport themselves home.

A breakdown of the amount shows that 10 prisoners whose combined fines totalled N149,500 were released from Medium Security Prison, Kuje, while 19 others whose total fines amounted to N316,000 were released from Suleja Prison.

The Controller of Prisons, FCT Command, Gwagwalada, Abuja, K.O. Yusuf, in a special letter of appreciation to the minister thanked him for the kind gesture, which he described as special Ramadan gift for the affected inmates. He thanked the minister for the cordial relationship existing between the FCT Administration and the Nigerian Prison Service.

In his own remarks, the Deputy Controller of Prisons in charge of Kuje Prison, Musa Tanko, who spoke on behalf of the Prison Service, Kuje and the inmates, thanked the minister for the kind gesture. He particularly thanked him for giving each of the pardoned inmates the sum of N10,000 stressing that it would help them to start free life afresh. He urged the lucky inmates to ensure that they were leaving the prison confines for life.

Also present at the event was the Director, Advisory Services, FCT, Abdullahi Kuyambana.

NOSIKE OGBUENYI

SA Media to the Hon. Minister of FCT


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