The Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has granted official state pardon to thirty prisoners serving various jail terms at the Medium Prison Olokuta in Akure.
According to a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi, the pardon, effected to mark the country’s 57th Independence Anniversary, was a follow up to the recommendation of the State Advisory Council.
The prisoners’ pardon is part of the prerogative of mercy which the state Governor executes regularly particularly during the annual independence anniversary. Most of the released prisoners were recommended for pardon on account of having been found to be of good conduct while serving their jail terms.
Arakunrin Akeredolu however expressed the hope that the pardoned prisoners would be of good behaviour and contribute their quota to the progress of the state.
In a related development, Ondo State Acting Chief Judge (CJ), Hon. Justice Olanrewaju Oluwatoyin Akeredolu yesterday granted amnesty to some of the awaiting trial children of the state correctional centre as part of activities marking Nigeria’s 57th Independence Anniversary .
She ordered that the children who are orphans be sent to foster home.
She also ordered that some of the children be taken to neuro psychiatric hospitals for counseling and treatment as the case may be and reduced the jail term of one inmate from three years to three months.
The Acting CJ gave the order while visiting the correctional centre along Ondo road in Akure in company of Judges, Magistrates and other judicial staff of the state government.
Justice Akeredolu equally ordered that parents and guardians of some of the inmates be summoned for neglecting their children.
The Acting CJ who condemned the attitude of some parents who failed to take proper care of their children noted that majority of the inmate were alleged to have stolen petty things.
“Some parents are not living up to expectation, failure of parents to do what is expected of them is worrisome. It is a delinquence on their part. They must do the right thing according to the law.
“Many of the parents leave the children to fend for themselves, imagine, children who stole noodles, they were pushed to the street”,she decried.
Justice Akeredolu who affirmed that more sensitization will be done for parents to know their responsibility said parents who violated the law should be brought to book.
“Parents have obligations to discharge, time has come that we must let the delinquent parents do what is right,” she stated.
She commended the management and staff of the centre for a job well done saying no stone would be left unturned to ensure that law and order are respected in the state.
Earlier in her welcome address,the state commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hon. Omowumi Olatunji-Edet had appreciated the Chief Justice concern for the welfare of children particularly those in difficult circumstances in the state which is demonstrated by the visit.
Represented by the Acting Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Yemisi Olalusi, the commissioner explained that the centre was established on 20th November, 1991 in line with the relevant provision of the Ondo State Children and Young Person’s Law, Cap. 21 of 1978 as juvenile remand home which was later changed to children correctional centre based on the directive of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in line with the provision of the State Child Right Law, 2007.
She stated further that the centre is mainly designed for children and young persons below eighteen years who are in conflict with the law and serves as custody for those already committed,either for reformation or temporary accommodation pending the determination of their cases in various courts.
She however stressed the need for the expansion of the facility and improvement of infrastructure to be able to cope with the increase in the number of inmates.
Hon Olatunji-Edet used the occasion to appreciate the present administration in the state for the massive renovation currently going on at the centre.
She posited that number of committals to the centre has continued to increase by the day due to pervading poverty in the land accompanied by neglectful parenting noting that it is quite challenging and it is the more reason why the visit of the CJ is apt as it will bring about expected succor.
To this end, the commissioner said in order to stem this tide, the ministry will soon embark on rescue exercise to rid the major towns of the state of street children and other vulnerable children.
She said they will explore other means including public sensitization to ensure that the rate of family break up is reduced while parents will be encouraged to devote more time to the proper upbringing of their children.