Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule has granted amnesty to 36 inmates of the Lafia custodial centre of the Nigeria Correctional Services.
In a ceremony which held today (June 30, 2021) at the premises of the custodial centre, Engineer Abdullahi Sule said it was in line with the powers vested on him as the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State and also with his belief that there is time for punishment and time for forgiveness.
He said for the 36 inmates being released, it will only be proper for them to repay the mercy being shown to them by going on to become upstanding members of the society.
He said: “It is the responsibility on the part of leaders to forgive when it is time to forgive because God Himself forgives us. And we ask for forgiveness from the Almighty every day.
“When I look at the faces – that is why I insisted I have to come myself – of some of these inmates, most of them are at the ages of our own children, our own younger brothers. And unfortunately, they have found themselves in this kind of difficulty.
“This is not to say they are not at fault. But we are hoping that their stay in this correctional centre – that is why the name has been changed to ‘correctional’ – that their attitude, their character and their approach to life has been corrected. And we hope and pray they are coming out people who have been corrected.”
To the inmates that have been granted pardon, Governor Sule said: “When you go back home today, tell your siblings that this place is not a place to be.”
He charged them to make use of the education they were able to get during their period of incarceration, to contribute meaningfully to the society.
Also speaking at ceremony, Nasarawa State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Dr Abdulkarim Kana said granting amnesty to the 36 inmates was to mark this year’s democracy day.
He said the inmates could not be released earlier because of the industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) which made it difficult to finish processing their papers at the various courts.
The Nasarawa State Attorney General said this was not the first time Engineer Abdullahi Sule will be granting amnesty to inmates during the two years he has spent in office and assured that there were still more to come.
He said granting amnesty was not only for the purpose of showing mercy to some of the inmates but also to ensure the correctional centres are decongested and more convenient for the inmates.
The Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, also made a pledge to personally donate sewing machines, wielding machines and carpentry tools to the custodial centre.
This was in response to the appeal earlier made by the Nasarawa State Comptroller of the Nigeria Correctional Services, Aliyu Yahuza for equipment to be able to train the inmates and help them acquire relevant skills.
The comptroller while welcoming the Governor, said the Nigeria Correctional Services in Nasarawa State has made remarkable achievements in the area of education producing 81 students who are set to seat for the SSCE, 23 students for NABTEB and 78 undergraduates running various degree programmes in the National Open University.
He also disclosed that there are 8 inmates currently studying for their Masters Degree with one studying for a PhD.
According to him, the Nigeria Correctional Services in Nasarawa State is however lagging in the area of skills acquisition with their workshops not functional because of lack of working materials.
He said impacting skills on the inmates helps to give them better options when they are released into the society.
In a vote of thanks on behalf of the inmates benefitting from the amnesty, George Musa appreciated Engineer Abdullahi Sule for the gesture and assured that they will do all that is within their power to see that they do not return to their former ways.
He prayed for God to grant the Governor more wisdom as he continues to preside over Nasarawa State.