Bayelsa Governor Grants Amnesty to Nine Prison Inmates; Talks Decongestion
The governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, has granted amnesty to nine prison inmates from the Nigeria Correctional Centre in Yenagoa. Diri said he did this in furtherance of his powers as the governor and as a result of recommendations from the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy. He therefore warned the released inmates to put on good behavior and to eschew social vices.
“Whereas you have all made written applications seeking for this discretionary exercise by the government of Bayelsa State, I have also in consultation with the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy and in accordance with the laws of Bayelsa State, and in exercise of my constitutional powers as the Governor of Bayelsa State, hereby grant you mercy,” Diri stated.
The governor lamented the congestion of the prison and expressed worry that the number of inmates at the facility is overwhelming. He said the only way to decongest the prison is by reducing recidivism – a situation where offenders are prone to more offences after their release from jail. He said the prison will become almost empty if people stop to engage in crimes.
The Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Kate Abiri, thanked the governor for granting amnesty to the nine inmates. She noted that while she could release prisoners with minor infractions, the governor has more constitutional powers to grant amnesty to other classes of offenders. She expressed delight that this would be the first time in her tenure that a governor would grant amnesty to prison inmates.
The comptroller of prisons at the Okaka Correctional Centre in Bayelsa, Seth Edoughotu, thanked the governor for his gesture. He expressed hopes that the governor will do more to decongest the facility to improve the health of inmates. He also appreciated Diri for giving an operation vehicle to the centre and for rehabilitating the road leading to the correctional facility.