Ebonyi Governor David Umahi has unconditionally granted pardon to 33 inmates at the Abakaliki and Afikpo Correctional Centre.

Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Cletus Ofoke, stated this on Friday in Abakaliki, the state Capital.

He said that the decision to pardon the inmates was in line with the Federal Government policy to decongest the Correctional Centres.

The Attorney General said the pardon followed recommendations of the state advisory council.

He noted that the convicts include males and females with cases ranging from stealing, burglary, assault to occasioning bodily harm among others.

According to him, those on death roll at the different Correctional Centers in the state were not considered.

“The Governor in his averred determination to decongest the Correctional Center in the Ebonyi state and guided by the recommendations of the state advisory council on prerogative of mercy has granted unconstitutional pardon and clemency has granted to 33 convicts serving various terms in the Correctional Centers in Abakailiki and Afikpo in Ebonyi State”.

“The Governor in line with the Federal government to decongest the prisons following the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus disease which the entire world is fighting so that it won’t escalate in the country. Governor Umahi believes that the idea of social distancing which is being preached in the state may not be attained if the Correctional facilities in the state is not decongested”.

“The social distancing will not be attained because of the way the inmates are arranged at the centre and has urged the convicts so pardoned to be accepted by their relatives, villages and families. ,” he stressed.

He noted the Governor has also factored the convicts into the State empowerment program so as to better their lives and make them self sufficient adding that those pardoned would not pose a threat to the society but would contribute to the development of the state.

The Commissioner for Justice noted that the state Governor had earlier at the Abakaliki staduim released over 100 persons arrested for the violation of the COVID 19 laws of the state adding that pardon of the convict was prerogative of mercy as enshrined in the constitution.

The Attorney General pointed out that the pardon granted to the convicts would not increase the crime rate In the state, adding that those granted pardon were inmates who has shown enough remorse and were ascertain to have been of good behaviour while in custody.