Tuesday, June 6, 2017 9:54 pm
The Chief Judge of the State, Honourable Justice Marshal Umukoro, has expressed worry over the rising number of condemned criminals on death in Warri Prison.
Justice Umukoro expressed his concern on Tuesday in Asaba, the State headquarters, during a courtesy visit by the Chairman and Members of the Delta State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy.
Umukoro who disclosed that no fewer than 180 condemned criminals are awaiting execution at the Warri Prison, called for the relocation of the Medium Prison to the outskirt of the oil city, as practiced in other climes of the world.
He Chief Judge while lamenting the high crime rate in the state, attributed the prevalent crime rates to family dysfunction.
This is even as he called on the Advisory Body headed by Chief A.P.J. Okpakpor, the first Attorney-General of Delta State, to be vigilant and professional in making their recommendations to the Governor in the exercise of his powers of Prerogative of Mercy under section 212 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Justice Umukoro who told the Chairman and Members of the Advisory Council to be guided by the statutory requirements while considering applications for granting of amnesty, noted that those to be considered must have either exhausted all his or her legal rights of appeal or is not interested in pursuing such right.
According to him, other grounds for consideration includes when an inmate is discovered to have been wrongly convicted or on health ground which he advised must be properly investigated as according to Justice Umukoro, medical certificates can be doctored with a view to misleading the Council.
He also charged members of the Advisory Body to embark on prison visitation to ascertain claims by inmates who applied for amnesty before making their recommendations, even as he advocated for constitutional amendment to remove prison from the exclusive legislative list.
Earlier, the Chairman of the State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, Chief A.P.J. Okpakpor, described the judiciary as the last hope of both the rich and the common man, adding that without the judgement of the Courts, the Council will be unable to discharge its statutory functions.
Okpakpor who disclosed that the visit was to pay the Chief Justice obedience and tap from his wealth of experience as the head of the judiciary in the State, raised the alarm over the decay of prison facilities.
He also hinted the Chief Judge of the Council’s intention of embarking on visit to the various Federal Prisons in the State for the spot assessment.
Okpakpor was accompanied by other members of the Council, including the Secretary, Mrs. Uju Monye, Dr. Sam Efetobor, Hon. Krees Njiokwuemini and representative of the Nigerian Prisons Service, CSP Paulina Egbon.
Other Members of the seven-man Advisory Council include Mrs. Irene Imilar (representing Delta South) and John Okoriko Esq (representing the Nigeria Bar Association).