Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state has granted pardon to 31 inmates and commuted sentences of 13 others in custodial centres in the State and across the country.
Bello disclosed this in his Independence Day celebration address to the people of Kogi State, on Tuesday in Lokoja.
The governor noted that the Kogi State Advisory Council in consonance with the provisions of the 1999 constitution (as amended), on the prerogative of Mercy Law, 1995, visited several custodial centres at the different part of the Federation to pursue this purpose.
According to him, after careful scrutiny of various applications, supporting documents and testimonies by officials, the council compiled the list of those who were recommended and deserved to be pardoned.
Thirteen other inmates also had their sentences converted, ranging from death to life imprisonment, 15 to 10 years, among others.
Among those who regained their freedom in custodial centres in Kogi State included: Shaibu Zakari, James Sheidu, Muhammed Yahaya formerly remanded in Okene Custodial Centre, and Sunday Adeyemi at Idah custodial Centre
Others were Ugbede John, Ojonugwa Mathew, Abdulmumuni Yakubu, and Muhammed Haruna at Ankpa Custodial Centre, while Daniel Ochonu and Abdulrahman at Koton Karfe Custodial Centre, among several others from the various custodial centre in the state and across the country.
The governor enjoined communities of the beneficiaries of the amnesty while advising the beneficiaries to reciprocate this gesture by eschewing evil and living at peace in their respective communities.
Speaking on his achievements, Bello said that his administration had delivered electricity to over 200 communities across the state.especially in the Eastern flank and the Lokoja/Koto Kar axis of Kogi West.
He added that he had also inaugurated the Project Light Up Kogi East (PLUKE) for accelerated electrification of at least another 200 communities in Kogi East.
”We have also taken tremendous strides in the provision of physical and engineering infrastructure and utilities of all types, such as major link and township road networks, electricity projects, rural water schemes, primary and secondary healthcare centres, specialist health programmes and empowerment initiatives for youths, women and other sections of our populace.
”The second largest rice mill in Northern Nigeria is ready for commissioning at Ejiba in Yagba East of Kogi West.
”It is supported with about 800 hectares of cultivated rice and will provide between 3000 to 20,000 direct and indirect jobs. It will also serve as an off-taker for many of our farmers,” he said.
He further noted the state in 2019, ranked the 7th top performer among all the states and FCT in basic education according to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
”We have renovated, or constructed from scratch, over 375 basic education schools across the state.
”Our secondary schools and Tertiary institutions have enjoyed serious attention from the administration, both in the provision of enhanced learning materials and physical infrastructure.
”As a result, several Tertiary institutions were able to receive accreditation for critical courses which have been outstanding for years,” Bello said.
On salaries and pensions, the governor said that arrangements had been put in place to ensure regular payment of salaries and pensions on 25th of every month henceforth.
He restated that the issue of delay of non-payment of salaries and pensions had become history in the state, stressing that his administration had fulfilled its promise to pay salaries and pensions, even before the due time.
He noted that the August and September salaries were paid to workers even before the end of the two months.
He emphasised that Kogi people at the grassroots had shown great appreciation to his government’s institutional reforms, stressing that he had received warm receptions in various communities with lots of goodwill and support.
Bello, therefore, expressed confidence that such goodwill would help greatly as the November 16 Kogi Gubernatorial Election drew near as he campaigned for his reelection with several achievements to justify his first term.
According to him, in spite the widespread misunderstanding of his administration’s reforms in the early days in the face of vicious opposition, his government had been able to change the narrative of governance in Kogi state for better.
Bello felicitated with Nigerians and Kogi citizens on the 59th Anniversary of the country’s independence from colonial rule, and expressed gratitude to Almighty God, for guiding the nation through thick and thin.