The Plateau State government has taken a pragmatic step to free a whopping 39 of its prison inmates, following the call to the Federal and State governments to grant amnesty to inmates, who are due or, who have gone through long periods of imprisonment.
The 39 inmates were granted pardon by the plateau state governor, Barr Simon Bako Lalong, last week, where a total sum of N465,700:00 was paid, in order to gain their freedom.
In line with this positive development, the Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Jos, His Grace Most Rev Dr Ignatius A. Kaigama, did not want to be left out when he saw it just right to ‘marry’ the occasion with a celebration of Mass for the freed inmates at the prison on the Christmas day.
It could be recalled that Conscience Triumph had earlier reported that, some of the inmates were still in prison custody because they could not afford to pay their fines.
Eleven (11) of the inmates were freed from Jos Prison, paying N147,000:15; 22 were freed from Shendam Prison, with a payment of N179,000; N61,000:00 was paid for the release of 6 inmates in Pankshin Prison, while 9 inmates from Prison Farm Center, Lakushi, were freed at the payment of N78,700 00:00.
According to the governor, no Prison inmate was freed from Langtang Prison because their cases involved homicide and murder, and required a more Herculean process to set them free.
He warned them against indulging in activities that could lead them to incarceration, urging them to use their freedom to positively impact on themselves and the society.
Barr Lalong said he believed that the freed inmates have much to offer to the society, looking at the fact that most of them were at the ages of 25 years.
According to him, “If we have many youths in prison, we are not doing any good to ourselves,” adding that, “we are setting you free not because you are innocent, but because we want you out and to come and join the empowerment program of the President.”
He assured to assist them and, those, who wish to go back to school, would be encouraged to do so, while those, who wish to farm or start businesses, government would assist them with loans.