2,600 inmates spread across the various custodial centres in the country has secured presidential pardon and amnesty from the federal government. Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola who confirmed this recently during a presentation Lecture at the Third Annual Lecture on Economy and Security, Faculty of Arts, Ekiti State University, urged State Governments to imbibe this initiative.
According to a press release signed by Mohammed Ali, Director of Press, the minister said that the yard stick and criteria used by FG to arrive at the selection of inmates to be granted Presidential Pardon amongst others are old age, ill-health, convicts serving three years and above, who have less than six months to serve; inmates with mental health issues as well as those with options of fines not exceeding ₦50,000 who have no pending cases.
Aregbesola stated, “a total of 2,600 inmates spread across various custodial Centres benefitted from the Amnesty.These included 885 convicts who could not pay their fines totalling ₦21.4million which the Government paid on their behalf to enable them get their freedom. From this number, 41 inmates were Federal Convicts.”
The Minister stated that the Federal Government had on March 9, 2020, set up a Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, made up of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha as Chairman; National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, and other members, adding that to this effect, strategic high quality and sensitive equipments and structures were put in place to enable relevant Agencies contain the disease in Nigeria.
“As is well known, the disease wreaked havoc on the population, latest figures from NCDC indicates that there have been 168,442 positive cases with 2,122 fatalities, some were very close friends and VIPs that I know and have worked with”, Aregbesola said.
The Minister noted that “Covid-19” had its effect in Nigeria but the Government was able to mitigate and reduce the number of casualties. More enduring was that the pandemic further brought to the fore the capacity of the Nigerian people to be resilient in the face of adversity. The FG too was quick to responses that contained the pandemic unlike other countries with advanced high technology yet were worst hit like China USA and others.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of Ekiti State University, Professor Edward Olanikpeku commended the Minister for honouring their invitation despite his tight schedule, he described him as a “Golden Fish” not only in politics but in every aspect of human endeavour.
Olanipeku stressed that we all alike must consciously keep to COVID-19 protocols.
Also Speaking during the event the Chairman of the occasion,and the Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt Hon.Funminiyi Afuye, noted that COVID-19 pandemic did pose great threat on the citizens yet we all are gradually pulling through it safely as we strictly adhere to all the Presidential Task Force Protocols.