Five prisoners who have been of good behaviour while in detention, have earned parole from Gov Simon Lalong of Plateau, as Nigeria marks its 60th independence anniversary.
Lalong granted them pardon on Thursday at Government House, Jos, at a one-day discussion with community leaders to deepen peace in Plateau.
“In the spirit of Nigeria’s Diamond celebrations and in exercise of the powers conferred on me under Section 212 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic as amended and on the recommendation of the state advisory Council on the prerogative of mercy, I hereby grant pardon to the following convicted persons who were of good behavior in detention.
Governor Lalong proclaimed as follows –
“Obinna John, initially sentenced to death by hanging, having served eight years, his death sentence had been commutted to 21 years in Prison.
“Lengka Kurji, earlier sentenced to 36 months imprisonment, having served two years and nine months, has been granted absolute pardon.
“Buhari Abubakar, initially sentenced to four years imprisonment, having served two years and ten months, has been granted absolute pardon.
“David Luka, initially sentenced to three years imprisonment, having served two years and 11 months, is hereby granted absolute pardon.
“Ya’u Bala, initially sentenced to three years imprisonment, having served two years and eight months, has been granted absolute pardon.”
He urged them to cease the opportunity of their freedom to chart a new course for themselves , while contributing to the progress of the country.
He said the discussion tagged ‘Building Peaceful, Safer and Secure Communities in Plateau State’s calls for achieving a stable, peaceful and prosperous society, through cooperation of all stakeholders.’
He said the meeting was also to explore ways which the state government can work with critical stakeholders, to entrench the ideals of sustainable peace.
“Moving forward, the government will continue to work with you and other stakeholders, to mitigate violence through an inclusive and community-driven processes, devoid of ethno religious or political considerations,” he said.
Lalong said one of the cardinal objectives of his administration is to ensure peace, security and good governance, saying the Plateau Peace Building Agency was established in 2016 to help in achieving it.
He expressed delight that peace in Plateau is being restored, as the number of visitors and investors have increased, adding that Max Air launched its Abuja to Jos flight on Monday, 29th September, as evidence of development of the State.
The governor reiterated his administration’s commitment in protecting the lives and properties of Plateau people, saying no amount of black mail and desperation would deter them from the task.
He said arrests have been made over the killing of a traditional leader in Barkin-ladi Local Government, the killing of a Department of Security Services operative in Shendam Local Government, as well as the killing of five persons in Jos South Local Government.
In his keynote address, the Director for the Center of Conflict Management and Peace Studies, University of Jos, Prof. Danny McCain, said peace building required compromises from different groups in various Communities.
He said the process required time, energy, perseverance and forgiveness, saying those driving the process should not be easily discouraged.
“Building community always involves compromise, forgiveness, and everybody must be involved because it needs patience,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Plateau Council of Chiefs and Emirs, the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba, said that issues troubling the community must be addressed for Sustainable peace.
Other discussants at the meeting were Leaders of religious organisations, Civil Society Organisations and experts on conflict resolution.