As part of the celebration of Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has granted state pardon to 18 convicted inmates of the Nigeria Correctional Centres in the state.
The governor also commuted to life imprisonment 26 other inmates on death row.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Richard Olatunde, said the gesture by the governor was in commemoration of this year’s Independence Anniversary.
The state read: “In exercise of the powers conferred on him by paragraph (d) of sub-section (1) of Section 212 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as Amended, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has granted State pardon to 18 convicted inmates.
“The Governor also committed to life imprisonment 26 other inmates who were condemned to death by the various courts in the state. The convicts were released having shown remorse and are of good conduct at the correctional centres.”
While charging them to be of good conduct and live a crime-free life, the governor urged the public not to discriminate against them as they reintegrate into society.
Similarly, in a state-wide broadcast to commemorate the 2021 Independence Day Celebration, on Friday, Akeredolu called for urgent restructuring of the country to reflect the diversity and address the various misunderstandings and high rate of criminality in the polity.
He said, “It has become imperative that the current structure be tinkered with in a fundamental way. It is no longer sustainable,
“Our country is blessed abundantly. There is hardly any part of this vastly endowed space that should not be self-sustaining. This land should not be a place where hunger, poverty and a general sense of lack predominate.
“We must be bold enough to interrogate why these challenges appear perennial. We must not shy away from the reality of our diversity which should, ordinarily, be a source of strength but is gradually becoming an albatross.
“We must inquire for the reasons why those who regarded themselves as brothers and sisters no longer feel comfortable seeing or accommodating one another. We must be willing to confront whatever system which has reduced the once self-reliant sub-national entities to perpetual dependencies practically.
“The states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria appear independent nominally at present. Serious attempts must be made to return our country to the path of progress trodden by the founding fathers. Conscious efforts must be made by both the political and communal leadership in all the parts of the country to reorientate the people to embrace the pristine values which held lofty promises for advancement.
“Consequently, I am of the firm view that this occasion affords us yet another opportunity to reflect deeply, on the current difficulties and proffer frank suggestions which will assist in addressing our fundamental challenges of nationhood.
“Our people must strive under a system which recognises their God-given talents and promotes unique initiatives. All federating units must be less dependent on the Federal Government for basic survival.”