No fewer than 115 inmates regained their freedom from six Nigerian Correctional Service, NCS, centres in Nasarawa State, following President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to decongest prisons to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa state, while performing a brief ceremony on Wednesday in Lafia, advised the freed inmates to be agent of positive change to society.
Mr Sule, represented by the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Nasarawa state, Dr Abdulkarim Kana, charged the freed inmates to be law abiding in order not to find themselves back in the correctional centre.
“As you can see, you are released unconditionally, whatever crime you have committed have been pardoned, you can live a successful life without committing crime, find anything you can do to earn a living,” he advised.
He enjoined the inmates to comply with government’s directive on COVID-19 such as observance of physical distancing, coughing into elbows, staying at home, washing of hand with soap and water also use of alcohol-based sanitisers.
Sule disclosed that the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari had facilitated their released by paying for damages and compensation of some inmates, while Nasarawa State government paid various fines to secure their release.
The state government had given the sum of N5,000 to each of the freed inmates as transportation fare to ease their movement to their destinations.
Earlier Emmanuel Okoro, Controller of NCS, Nasarwa State Command, advised the freed inmates to be law abiding and shun any act capable of bringing them back to the correctional facilities.
Okoro described their freedom as a compliance with the presidential directive, which aimed at decongesting the correctional facilities against COVID- 19 in the country.
“COVID-19 transmit faster in the crowded environment, and you know that the correctional facilities are crowded that is why the President in his wisdom instructed that they should be decongested, we know where you are going and we will keep tap on you,” he said.
Mrs Halima Jabiru, Nasarawa state Commissioner for Women Affair and Social Development, charged them to live a new life having gone through reformatory process in order to be useful to themselves and society at large.
Daniel Luiz, who spoke on behalf of the freed inmates, while appreciating President Buhari’s gesture, promised not to disappoint him, noting that they had realised their mistakes and ready to change for good.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had recently approved the pardon of 2,600 inmates as part of administration’s commitment to contain the spread of COVID-19 and the need to urgently decongest NCS centres across the Country.