President Muhammadu Buhari has granted pardon to Anthony Enahoro, a nationalist who moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence and Ambrose Alli, a former governor of Bendel state.
The President further pardoned Moses Effiong, a retired colonel; EJ Olanrewaju, a retired major; and Ajayi Olusola Babalola.
The pardon was today announced by Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, at a press conference in Abuja.
Aregbesola also stated that Buhari had approved an amnesty for 2,600 inmates across various custodial centres in the country.
However, he stated that the president’s amnesty will not apply to inmates sentenced for violent extreme offences such as terrorism, kidnapping, armed banditry, rape, human trafficking, culpable homicide, among others.
Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, while speaking at the briefing said 39 of the inmates were granted clemency – four of which are at the Kuje Custodial Centre.
Malami said the government’s action was in line with the advice of the UN which called on countries of the world to reduce the population of prisons so as to encourage social distancing.
Ja’afaru Ahmed, controller-general of the Nigeria Correctional Service, said there are 73,756 inmates in custodial centres all over the country, with 51,983 of them on the awaiting trial listed
In 1994, the regime of Sani Abacha, a military dictator, had jailed Enahoro for leading the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO).
The military regime of Buhari had sentenced Alli to 100 years in prison for allegedly misappropriating funds for a road project.
While Effiong was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for alleged concealment of treason in the coup led Maman Vatsa allegedly led against Ibrahim Babaginda, a former military president, in 1986.
He was later released in 1993.