Idowu Olakunle, Abeokuta
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has pardoned 49 inmates and three condemned prisoners as he begins his second term in office.
The governor showed his magnanimity to the lucky prisoners on medical grounds, old age and long imprisonment term.
Speaking after taking the oath of allegiance and office administered by the Chief Judge of the State, Hon. Justice Mosumola Dipeolu, at the M.K.O Abiola Stadium, Kuto, Abeokuta, on Monday, the Governor said “The Constitution of Nigeria allows me to exercise a prerogative to pardon anybody connected to or convicted of an offence in Ogun State. Thus, having received the guidance from the Council set up to advise me on this prerogative, I have signed the appropriate warrant ordering the immediate release of 49 convicts who are currently imprisoned in different correctional facilities across Ogun State.
“I have also signed a warrant ordering that the death sentences imposed on 3 death row convicts be immediately converted to prison sentences. The convicts who have received this gesture today, are inmates who have served long prison sentences with some having been in prison for more than 20 years. At least two of these convicts have serious medical conditions such as tuberculosis and HIV which even render them a health hazard to the prison community.”
The governor explained that three of the convicts were over 60 years old, with one being 84 years old, while others have less than two years of their sentences to serve.
“All of these convicts have shown remorse for their crimes, they have acquired skills and certifications in prison, and they have demonstrated verified good conduct during their imprisonment.” he added
Dapo said that the Ogun State of his dream was not only for one class of persons,stressing ” It is not for the perfect. It is an inclusive State that gives opportunities to the law-abiding, and second chances to deserving offenders”
“If we spend considerable time, effort, and resources in supporting correctional facilities, then we must believe in their capacity to correct, and be willing to reabsorb, reintegrate, and utilise those that these facilities have corrected. While we are not softening our stance on crime”he stated.
The governor who noted that his administration had fulfilled its electoral promises, reeling out some of his achievements in the last four years, said infrastructure had been developed and fairly and equitably distributed across the State to engender more development, listing the Ilaro-Owode, Siun- Abeokuta,
Ilisan-Ago-Iwoye, Atan-Lasada as some of the 400 kilometres of roads constructed.
He said affordable houses were constructed in major cities in the State, while an astro polis, made up of airport, Special Agro-Processing Zone, Air force Base, is currently being constricted by his administration.
On social welfare, Governor Abiodun said many women have been empowered through the Oko’wo Dapo scheme, health facilities have been upgraded including the provision of 50 Ambulances, as well as recruitment of medical personnel to man health centres in the State.
While assuring that his administration in the next four years would invent new policies that would speedily move the State towards ‘Building the Future of the people, the governor said his government would continue with ISEYA mantra and focus on completing ongoing projects that creat more prosperity to the people.
The governor emphasized that he would work towards achieving 250 Primary Health Centres and the completion of the 250 bed- hospital in Abeokuta and providing 6,000 affordable housing units, including the President Muhammadu Buhari Estate in the State capital.
Other projects the people should expect according to the governor, include the digitalisation, improvement of e-learning in the education sector, collaboration with the private investors to key into the Lagos Blue Rail Line project to benefit the people and the construction of Dry Land Port at Wasimi, to fast track economic development in the State.
Governor Abiodun informed the people that his administration would liaise with the private investors to explore oil at Tongegi Island and Ogun Waterside, while agriculture would be encourage by assisting farmers to produce more food.
The governor said the state would host the 2024 National Sports Festival as part of efforts to discover and develop more world beaters to the state and the nation.
While appreciating the people for their support and the Ogun State workers for their cooperation in the last four years, Abiodun maintained that his administration would sustain Investment drive, give attention to human development, and carry out more reforms to reposition the civil service for more efficient service delivery.
“Just like I said four years ago, I will listen to your concerns, seek your input, and work tirelessly to make our state a better place for all. I believe that through hard work, determination and a shared vision for the future, we can achieve great things. I am committed to building a government that is transparent, equitable, accountable, and responsive to the needs of our people. We will work together to make our state a place where everyone has equal opportunity to thrive, regardless of their background”, he submitted.