National Council of State Thursday ratified the pardon granted to a former governor of the defunct Bendel State, Professor Ambrose Alli, and three other citizens convicted for attempted coups.
The council also approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s prerogative of mercy to pardon 39 prison inmates.
Ali, who governed the old Bendel State, now split into Edo and Delta states, from 1979-1983 in the Second Republic, was convicted during the military rule of Buhari in 1984 for alleged misapplication of over N983,000 in funds for a road project.
Although the late professor returned the money, the military tribunal, which tried him for the offence, nonetheless sentenced him to 100 years in prison. He later became blind before his eventual death.
Aside Alli, the council also approved presidential pardon for 44 others, including two military officers said to have been convicted for attempted coup during the military regime of former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.), and a civilian.
The three men are: Col. Moses Effiong, Major E.J Olarenwaju, and Ajayi Olusola Babalola.
Briefing reporters after the virtual meeting, presided over by the president, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), said the ratification of the presidential pardon followed the presentation of a memorandum from the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy to the council.
According to him, in accordance with the constitutional requirement, which empowers the president to exercise prerogative of mercy to pardon prisoners, the council ratified presidential pardon for two inmates and clemency for 39 others, bringing the total beneficiaries of the president’s prerogative of mercy to 45, including Alli and the three alleged coup plotters.
He said the prerogative of mercy granted inmates was part of the efforts to decongest correctional centres to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “The memo presented for consultation in line with one of the constitutional requirements and consideration of grant of pardon to 45 persons, two inmates for pardon, 39 inmates for clemency and four ex-convict for presidential pardon.
“To further clarify on the prerogative of mercy, Mr. President, with COVID-19 pandemic, has directed the decongestion of our correctional centres across the country. And by way of collaborative action, the governors, heads of courts across the nations, have worked assiduously in collaboration with the presidential committee on decongestion of our correctional centres and at the end of the day we have succeeded in taking out over 4,000 inmates out of our correctional centers across the country.
“What we have today is a consolidation of what has been done and the strategies put in place to see to the decongestion of our correctional centres.
“As you are aware, more than 70 per cent inmates in our correctional centres were awaiting trial across the country and a lot of considerations were put in place to ensure our correctional centres are decongested, the prerogative of mercy was one of such considerations by Mr. President.”
Malami added that the council approved the appointments of two lawyers as members of the Federal Judicial Service Commission in line with the power conferred on the president to appoint members of the commission, subject to consultation with the Council of State.
“The exercise this morning relating to the presentation of the council memo was for the purpose of fulfilling the constitutional righteousness relating to the appointment of the two new legal practitioners, in essence it is to consult with the Council of State out of desire for compliance with constitutional requirements.
“The two members to represent Nigerian Bar Association on the Federal Judicial Service Commission are: Namoso Ekanem (SAN), from Akwa Ibom State, representing the South-south geo-political zone; and Mammud Abubakar Mogaji (SAN) from Niger State to represent the North-central geo-political zone,” he added.
In his own briefing, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who also participated in the meeting, said apart from former President Olusegun Obasanjo, all former Nigerian leaders participated in the meeting.
Mustapha said the council commended the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for its job in combating the pandemic and noted the impact of the pandemic on the economy and how it has exposed the weaknesses of the health system.
He said the council appealed to Nigerians to continue to adhere to COVID-19 protocols until vaccines would be available to treat the disease.
According to him, the meeting also approved the nominations of members of the National Population Commission (NPC).
He listed members of the commission whose nominations were approved as Muhammed Chuso A. Dottijo (Sokoto); Alhaji Razaq Gidado (Kwara); Ibrahim Mohammed (Bauchi); Joseph Kwai Shazin (FCT); Mr. Bala Almu Banya (Katsina); and Mrs. Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin (Lagos).
On his part, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Mungonu (rtd.), said he briefed the council on the security challenges facing the country, adding that the council approved the establishment of National Centre for Control of Small and Light Weapons to be domiciled in NSA’s office.
However, while Obasanjo was absent from the meeting, only former President Goodluck Jonathan, among the former leaders, was physically present with the president in the State House.
Other former leaders who attended the meeting virtually were: General Yakubu Gowon (rtd); General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd); Chief Ernest Shonekan, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Troops Neutralise Bandits, Rescue Kidnap Infant In Doka Village In Katsina State
In its efforts towards ridding the North-West zone of banditry and other criminality, troops of Operation Sahel Sanity have neutralized bandits, rescued kidnapped infant in Doka village in Katsina State.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko, issued to pressmen on Friday.
In continuation of their aggressive clearance operation against criminal elements across the North West zone, on 24 September 2020, based on credible Information on bandits attack in Unguwar Doka village of Faskari LGA of Katsina State, gallant troops of Opeartion SAHEL SANITY responded swiftly and immediately mobilized to the general area where they successfully cleared the village of the marauders to the admiration of the locals. During the encounter, troops successfully neutralized 21 bandits while others escaped with gunshot wounds into the forest as evident by the trails of blood along the criminals’ escape route.
In the aftermath of the decisive encounter, the gallant troops successfully rescued 3 kidnapped victims including an 8 months old baby who have been in the custody of the criminals for more than 23 days. During the exploitation phase of the operation, the gallant troops recovered one AK 47 rifle, one AK 47 magazine and 3 Motorcycles from the fleeing bandits.
Regrettably, resulting from the encounter with the bandits, one gallant officer and 2 soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice while 2 other soldiers were wounded in action and are currently receiving medical treatment in a military medical facility and responding positively. The fearless troops have continued to pursue the bandits into the forest and dominating the general areas with aggressive fighting patrols to deny them any respite.
Consequently, troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY are commended for their resilience and commitment to duty. They are further urged not to rest on their oars until the Northwest zone is completely rid of all criminal elements. The good people of the North-West zone are once again assured of troops’ commitment to the safety of lives and properties within the zone. They are also encouraged to continue to avail troops with timely and credible information that will assist in the conduct of operations to rout the criminal elements.
Nigeria Records 111 New COVID-19 Cases
Nigeria on Wednesday recorded 111 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases confirmed to 57,724.
In a late-night tweet, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) noted that the new cases were reported from 12 states of the federation, including Lagos where 31 cases were recorded.
Other states with new cases include Gombe (31), Kaduna (18), FCT (15), Rivers (14), Imo (3), Kwara (3), Oyo (3), Bayelsa (2), Edo (1), and Osun (1).
The NCDC report shows that 48,985 recovered patients have been discharged while 1,102 deaths have been recorded so far.
Over N10 billion worth of palliatives to be distributed
Wednesday’s NCDC report comes only a few hours after the Federal Government announced that it has commenced the distribution of palliatives worth N10.9 billion to households and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises.
President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed the new move on Tuesday while delivering a speech via video-message, on the first day of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly Debate.
According to him, the disbursement of the sum is part of efforts to reduce the suffering of Nigerians imposed by the COVID-19.
“In order to mitigate its impact on Nigerians, our administration has commenced the disbursement of the sum of N10.9 Billion to households and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as palliatives,” he said.
Speaking further, the president restated Nigeria’s commitment to working with other member states to promote the well-being of citizens.
“I should also state that Nigeria is committed to working with the other Member States in the spirit of global cooperation and solidarity to promote human health and general well-being.
“Nigeria will continue to partner with the WHO and some countries to ensure accelerated development and manufacturing, as well as the uninhibited supply of safe and effective Coronavirus vaccines to all,” he said.
In addition, President Buhari noted that the government has established a N500 billion fiscal stimulus package and sustained delivery of humanitarian and social interventions to poor and vulnerable households, while our Central Bank has launched a N3.5 trillion-stimulus package to boost manufacturing and facilitate import substitution
Army Eliminate Top Boko Haram Commanders, Others
The Defence Headquarters has said that Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole have eliminated top commanders and destroyed several terrorist camps at the Lake Chad Basin in recent encounters in the northeast.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche disclosed this on Thursday in a statement in Abuja.
He explained that In continuation of the aggressive clearance operation against terrorism and other sundry crimes in the North East, troops of Army Super Camp Malumfatori at the Lake Chad Basin conducted massive clearance operations.
According to Enenche, the successful operation led to the destruction of several identified terrorists’ camps and hideouts located at Tunbun Gini, Tunbun Nbororo, Tunbun Kayoma, Tunbun Kaza, Tunbun Fulani at the fringes of Lake Chad in Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno State.
“Several top BHT/ISWAP terrorists commanders were killed during the successful operation including Abu Usman, Alhaji Shettima, Modu Mainok, Bukar Gana, Abu Summayya, Amir Taam and Amir Kuraish among others”.
The Army General stresed that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are working together with other security agencies are highly committed to ending the insurgency and other security challenges in the country.
He said, “While the good people of the North East are once again assured of troop’s commitment to the safety of lives and property within the zone, they are also encouraged to continue to avail the troops with timely and credible information that will assist them in the conduct of their operations”.
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