Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has pardoned 12 inmates on death row and commuted the death sentences of six others to life imprisonment.
The governor had in an interview with Trust TV in 2021 revealed that governors were afraid of signing death warrants of convicts because they did not want to order the execution and later find out the person did not deserve to die.
A statement on Tuesday by the spokesman of Kano Command of the Nigeria Correctional Service, SC Musbahu Lawan Nassarawa, said the governor also pardoned four female inmates with long term sentences based on their good behaviour and industry as recommended by the Service.
The governor also gave N5,000 fare to each of the released inmates to enable them reunite with their families.
Nassarawa said the Chairman of the Prerogative of Mercy Committee, Abdullahi Garba Rano, and Controller of Corrections, Kano State Command, Sulaiman Mohd Inuwa, thanked the governor for using the power conferred on him by the constitution to release the inmates with good behaviour on the recommendation of the committee and the correctional service.
Inuwa was quoted to have called on the released inmates to be good ambassadors of the Nigerian Correctional Service to the society and to stay away from any act that can lead them back to the crime.
According to the statement, some of the pardoned inmates have spent 25 years awaiting execution.
In audio interviews with some of the pardoned inmates shared by the prisons spokesman, a 69-year-old man, who said he had spent 23 years awaiting execution, appreciated the governor and the correctional service for his release and that of others.
Meanwhile, the main opposition party in the state, New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has alleged in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari that the governor was granting pardon to prison inmates to join thugs that would foment violence in the state during the forthcoming gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections.
But the Commissioner of Information, Muhammad Garba, while denying the allegation, said the governor was only exercising his constitutional powers based on recommendations of the Prerogative of Mercy Committee, adding that the NNPP was only raising unnecessary issues because of fear of failure at the polls.