The Delta State Government on Friday granted amnesty to 150 prisoners in the custodial centres of the Nigerian Correctional Services as part of the measures to curtail the spread of Coronavirus.
Timothy Agbaragu, the Public Relations Officer, Delta State High Court, made this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Asaba.
Agbaragu said the amnesty was granted by the Chief Judge (CJ) of the state, Justice Marshal Umukoro.
He said 49 inmates were released from Warri Custodial Center, 46 from Agbor Custodial Centre, 27 from Ogwashi-Uku Custodial Centre while 25 and three were pardoned at Kwale and Sapele Custodial Centres, respectively.
Umukoro, speaking to the pardoned convicts said that while the pardon freed them from legal disabilities as citizens of Nigeria it does not obliterate their criminal records.
He further appealed to them to stay at home in strict adherence to government order geared toward curbing the spread of COVID-19.
The statement read: “The pardon was in line with the directive of the Presidential Committee on Decongestion of Custodial Centres.
“The directive mandated the state Governors, through the Chief Judges of the states, to identify and release the deserving inmates.
“The criteria for pardon include inmates who were 60 years and above, those with mental health issues, inmates with the option of fine not exceeding N50,000 and have no pending case, and children staying with their mother.
“Convicted inmates with minor offenses and those who had spent 75 per cent of their remaining sentences after remission were also included.
The CJ, however, disclosed that fresh convicts did not benefit from the pardon since they had just served a few months.
He said although their names are included in the list compiled from Abuja, releasing them on mere ground of COVID-19 would be insensitive.
He further instructed those convicted for serious crimes such as murder, armed robbery, kidnapping and aggravated offenses inimical to society to apply to the Committee of Prerogative of Mercy for amnesty.