In a bid to implement the Administration of Criminal Justice Reform in Ekiti State, the State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has inaugurated an eight-man Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy.
The Governor equally inaugurated a Seven-man Chieftaincy Review Commission to address the plethora of petitions, complaints and requests on chieftaincy matters in the state.
Inaugurating the members of the two committees in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday, Governor Fayemi said, the committees were critical to good governance in the state, adding that that informed the careful selection of members.
While speaking on the Chieftaincy Review Commission, the Governor said his government had in less than two months after inauguration, received no fewer than 100 petitions arising from the outcome of the report of the Justice Oyewole Chieftaincy Commission.
He added that the commission became imperative in order to have a more comprehensive approach to addressing the agitations and requests.
“We received no fewer than 100 petitions, complaints, requests from many communities and I felt it wasnt proper for us to begin to address these chieftaincy complaints issues on case by case basis and it will be helpful to us to have a much more comprehensive approach what became the source of complaints by many of them is the outcome of the report of justice Oyewole chieftaincy commission.
“Looking into history, we were keen to look for someone who has both institutional memory and professional ability to navigate this very stormy water.
“Many of you may recall that Justice Aladejana had done this before under Otunba Niyi Adebayo and we felt it is better to bring someone who has deep knowledge of this and also of our history as a state and can handle these petitions as well as help us propose ways out of the issues raised according to the terms of reference”, he said.
On the advisory council on prerogative of mercy, the Governor noted that many awaiting trial detainees have been languishing in prison; adding that convicts should not just be given pardon on mere ground an ad hoc visit by the Governor or the Chief Judge but on a careful examination of their cases to determine whether to give them a second chance or not.
“The big challenge to us in this state is that we have so many people who are languishing in prison awaiting trial for offences that may not frankly worth leaving somebody there for months and years. There are those who have been convicted who have served terms who have been found either by their conduct in prison by the prison authority to deserve being given a second chance because of the way they behaved in incarceration, and there has to be a proper way to do this beyond just ad hoc visit by the governor or the chief judge of the state declaring people free without a careful look into their situation,” Fayemi said.
Earlier, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Wale Fapohunda had said that the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy is in furtherance of the Governors powers to grant pardon to a convict; adding that section 2 of the State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy and other matters (2012) empowers the Governor to constitute the council.
Mr. Remi Obaparusi who is the Executive Secretary of the Bureau of Chieftaincy Affairs had also mentioned the terms of reference of the commission to include investigating the customary law on appointment of all recognized chieftaincies in the State and make recommendations for possible changes in the existing declaration.
According to him, they are to also look into issues relating to the status of obas and chiefs; their paraphernalia of office and order of precedence.
In his remarks, the chairman of the Chieftaincy Commission, Justice Jubril Aladejana said the inauguration of commission is a testament to the readiness of the governor to resolve the delicate chieftaincy issues.
Aladejana urged stakeholders and affected communities to cooperate with the commission in order to do a thorough job.