The National Council of State met on Thursday where members ratified the presidential pardon granted to the former Governor of defunct Bendel State, the late Professor Ambrose Alli.
Recall that the deceased and three others had a case involving the sum of N900,000, which led to their conviction.
The Thursday session also pardoned Col. Moses Effiong, Major E.J Olarenwaju for attempting to overthrow the government of former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (retd.).
A similar gesture was extended to Ajayi Olusola Babalola.
President Muhammadu Buhari presided over the virtual meeting, which had five former leaders in attendance.
However, former President Olusegun Obasanjo was not among the participants. He was absent.
The former Heads of State that attended were, General Yakubu Gowon; General Ibrahim Babangida; Chief Ernest Shonekan; General Abdulsalami Abubakar; and Goodluck Jonathan.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, leadership of the National Assembly, state governors and other top federal government officials also attended.
Speaking with State House Correspondents after the meeting, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the ratification of the pardon followed a request by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy.
Malami said, “The memo presented for consultation in line with one of the constitutional requirements and consideration of grant of pardon to 45 persons, two inmates for pardon, 39 inmates for clemency and four ex-convict for presidential pardon.
“To further clarify on the prerogative of mercy, Mr President, with COVID-19 pandemic, has directed the de-congestion of our correctional centres across the country. And by way of collaborative action, the governors, heads of courts across the nations, have worked assiduously in collaboration with the presidential committee on de-congestion of our correctional centres and at the end of the day, we have succeeded in taking over 4,000 inmates out of our correctional centres across the country.
“What we have today is a consolidation of what has been done and the strategies put in place to see to the de-congestion of our correctional centres.
“As you are aware, more than 70 per cent inmates in our correctional centres were awaiting trial across the country and a lot of considerations were put in place to ensure our correctional centres are de-congested, and the prerogative of mercy was one of such considerations by Mr President.”
The council also passed the appointment of two new members of the Federal Judicial Service Commission.
Malami noted that the appointments were in line with the provision of the law.
The minister stated, “The exercise this morning relating to the presentation of the council memo was for the purpose of fulfilling the constitutional righteousness relating to the appointment of the two new legal practitioners. In essence, it is to consult with the council of state out of desire for compliance with constitutional requirements.
“The two members to represent Nigerian Bar Association on the federal judicial service commission are Namoso Ekanem (SAN), from Akwa Ibom state, representing the South South geo-political zone and Mammud Abubakar Mogaji (SAN) from Niger State, to represent the North Central geo-political zone.”
Another approval was the appointment of Silas Agara to chair the National Population Commission.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, read out the names of members of the NPC.
They are, Muhammed Chuso A. Dottijo, (Sokoto); Alhaji Razaq Gidado, (Kwara); Ibrahim Mohammed, (Bauchi); Joseph Kwai Shazin, (FCT); Engineer Bala Almu Banya, (Katsina); and Mrs Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin, (Lagos).
The SGF also told reporters that the council appraised the measures put in place by the Federal Government to combat the raging COVID -19 pandemic, commending the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for doing a good job so far.
The council members were briefed on many issues ranging from security to the economy by the various heads of agencies saddled with the respective responsibilities.