Delta State Governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, emphasized the need for the Nigerian judicial system to adopt restorative justice and non-custodial sentences in order to alleviate the overcrowding of correctional facilities across the country. This call was made by Gov. Oborevwori during the official appointment of members to the State Advisory Council on the prerogative of mercy at Government House, Asaba.
The newly appointed members of the Council include Hon. Justice Celestina Ogisi (Rtd) as the Chairman, along with Prof. Louis Ikechukwu Ojogwu, Alexander Neyin, Dr. Iris Jewo Ibi, Augustine Ezeagwu Esq., Festus Onyeaju as Members, and Mrs. Uju Monye as the Secretary.
Governor Oborevwori stressed the urgency of this appeal due to the increasing number of individuals awaiting trial in correctional centers nationwide.
According to Oborevwori, “the Prerogative of Mercy, sometimes called clemency or state pardon or amnesty, is a useful tool in the administration of criminal justice because it helps to decongest our prisons.
“Currently, the total number of inmates in the state’s five custodial centres is 2,371, out of which 1,545 are awaiting trial.
“As part of the continuous effort of government to address issues of congestion with awaiting trial inmates, the State Government passed the Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2022.
“The Law is aimed at addressing the several challenges that confronted the administration of criminal justice system over the years.
“The Law modernizes and promotes efficiency, fairness, and accountability in the administration of criminal justice system in the state.
“Part of the innovations of the law is to ensure that the issue of restorative justice and non-custodial sentences are encouraged.
“Hence, rather than send all offenders to custodial centres to congest the already filled up centres, offenders can be made to undergo community service,”
He urged the Advisory Council to develop practical and measurable action plans to facilitate the successful reintegration of released prisoners into society.
Justice Celestina Ogisi (Rtd.), the Council’s Chairman, expressed gratitude to Governor Oborevwori for selecting them to serve the state. She assured him that the Council would adhere to the established guidelines governing its operations. Justice Ogisi also highlighted the Council’s commitment to thoroughly address the issue of congestion in correctional facilities throughout the state and explore strategies to alleviate the problem. Furthermore, she pledged the Council’s collaboration with relevant government agencies in the state and requested the public to refrain from making unwarranted requests to the Council.
The inauguration ceremony witnessed the presence of notable figures, including the State Deputy Governor, Sir Monday Onyeme, Chief Judge of the State, Justice Theresa Diai, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Emomotimi Guwor, his deputy, Rt. Hon. Arthur Akpowowo, and the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Emeka Nwaobi.