Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has reiterated the resolve of his administration to wage a relentless battle against crime in all parts of the State in the post-amnesty era.
He made the disclosure today while announcing the granting of pardon to some convicts at the Makurdi Medium Security Prison who are beneficiaries of the exercise of his powers of amnesty.
“The exercise is pursuant to the powers conferred on me as Governor, by section 212 of the Constitution,” he stated, adding that it was sequel to his approval of recommendations made by the Benue State Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy.
“While the law creates offences and prescribes punishments, it also makes provision for show of clemency and mercy on those punished, subjects to certain conditions,” he explained.
The Governor warned those still keeping arms illegally that the grace period was over and that the State Government would not tolerate criminal acts of any kind.
He said the development could only thrive in an atmosphere of peace, assuring the people of the state that government would provide the needed logistics to security agencies to enable them perform their functions effectively.
Addressing the discharged prison inmates, the Governor urged them to maximise their time out of prison by embarking on useful ventures that could add value to themselves and the society.
Governor Ortom appealed to the people of the State and other Nigerians to forgive the former prisoners in whatever way they might have offended them and help in re-integrating the affected persons into the society.
He said he inaugurated the Benue State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy last month and empowered it to make appropriate recommendations to him.
Governor Ortom who went round prison cells to speak to inmates awaiting trial, later approved the drilling of three boreholes at the Makurdi Medium Security Prisons, provision of one hilux and one Toyota bus to the Prisons.
He also gave one Bible to each of the freed inmates and transport allowances.
Earlier, the Controller of the Makurdi Medium Security Prisons, Oyigocho Ogbole, commended Governor Samuel Ortom on his peace and security initiatives, stressing that the stick and carrot approach the Governor had applied to the amnesty programme would create the enabling for sustained development to thrive in the state.
One of the inmates whose death sentence had earlier been commuted to life imprisonment and which Governor Ortom further reduced to 17 years, Mark Terhemen Ugoh, presented a book he authored in prison entitled ‘Actualizing Your Dream’, to him and expressed appreciation for the gesture.
Out of the 38 convicts who benefited from the amnesty, 16 had been released from prison custody, eight had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment while 14 had their sentences reduced to various terms of imprisonment.
Governor Ortom also announced that fines of 74 convicts had been paid including those of inmates of Benue origin in Jos, Kaduna, Gboko and Otukpo prisons.