The Cross River Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Tanko Ashang, has urged members of the State Prerogative of Mercy Advisory Council (SPMAC) to be fair and objective in the discharge of their duties.
He stated this on Thursday at the inauguration of the Council in Calabar.
Ashang explained that prerogative of mercy was the right and powers of the State, “whether President or Governor or any other Supreme Authority” to commute a death sentence, to change the mode of execution or to pardon an offender.
According to him: “it is meant to dispense the power of mercy by the State on exceptional cases, where the legal system fails to deliver a morally or politically acceptable judgment,” he said.
He added that it was a deliberate policy put in place by law to protect citizens against possible miscarriage of Justice occasioned by wrongful conviction or excessive punishments.
The commissioner noted that the Cross River State Law on Prerogative of Mercy, Cap P8 Vol. 5, 2004 provides for the functioning of the Committee, which essentially is advisory.
He added that the council’s allegiance was first to the Law and then to the Governor who has vested the power to exercise this prerogative functions in section 212 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“Beyond advice to the governor, you hold a divine mandate to make objective recommendations, including forgiveness,” he said.
Ashang expressed confidence that those appointed had credible qualities to perform, saying that history had placed on them the opportunity to review judgments and sentences of a Court in a very dispassionate manner.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Council, Mr Emmanuel Enamhe, thanked the governor for finding them worthy of the appointment.
He promised that they would do their utmost best to justify the confidence reposed in them.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)