By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos
In its bid to ensure justice for all and sundry, the Lagos State Government on Thursday inaugurated a nine-member Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy.
State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem who spoke at the inauguration of the Council at the state secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja said the move was derived from the Nigeria Constitution which provides for the constitution of an Advisory Council and grants the Governor powers to grant clemency to convicted persons on the advice of the Council.
â€œPrerogative of Mercy is a right recognised under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended); Section 212(2) of the Constitution provides that the powers conferred on the Governor under Section 212(1) shall be exercised by him after consultation with the Advisory Council of the State on the Prerogative of Mercy as may be established by the Law of the State.â€
He affirmed that the Governor has approved the constitution of the Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy in response to persistent request of the citizenry of the State, to grant pardon to inmates that have been reformed and ready for re-integration into the society.
The Attorney-General identified the objectives of the Stateâ€™s justice system to include reform, rehabilitation and re-integration into society of offenders after serving due punishment, adding that members of the Council were appointed based on their individual track records and experience while membership cuts across key sectors of the society.
The new Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy members include Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, a legal practitioner as Chairman; Mrs. Tola Akinsanya, Director, Legislative Drafting, as Secretary; Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, Lagos Attorney-General; Mr. Olugbenga Oniyire, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch; Mrs. Bolatumi Animashaun, NBA Lagos Branch; Mr. Adedotun Adebayo Adetunji, NBA, Ikorodu Branch and Mr. Chris Okoye, NBA, Badagry; Mrs. Musili Onasanya, representative of the State Controller-General of Prisons and Sheikh Abdul-Rahman Ahmed, a clergyman.
The Commissioner said that in accordance with the provisions of the Law, the tenure of the present Council commences from 21st June 2016 and ends on the28th May, 2019, adding that â€œhowever, a member, not being a person employed in the Civil Service of the State, may at any time resign his appointment by writing under his hand addressed to the Governor.â€
He therefore implored members to work tirelessly to achieve the set objectives and most importantly ensure that the most deserving inmates are adequately re-integrated into the society.
Chairman of the Council, Prof. Oyewo thanked the Governor for the appointment and opportunity to serve the State, promising that members will discharge their duties with probity and due process.