No fewer than two hundred and twenty-two inmates on death row have been discovered in the Okere Prison in Warri, Delta State by the state advisory council on the prerogative of mercy.
The startling discovery was exposed when the state chairman of the advisory council on the prerogative of mercy, the state first Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Patrick Okpakpor who led other members of the council on its maiden visit to the Okere Prison in Warri, Thursday.
Mr. Okpakpor who expressed shock at the discovery and undignified and dehumanized conditions inmates are detained, showed serious concern of the large number of people on death row at the prison facilities and urged the federal government to have a second look into the issue of the death sentence.
The Chairman of the Advisory Council who was conducted around the detention facilities by the Deputy Controller of the prison, Mr. Airiohuodion Sam, was stunned by the magnitude of congestion which he said should be treated as a national emergency.
Mr. Okpakpor, charged the federal government to make adequate budgetary provisions to expand the already over-stretched facility, originally designed and built to accommodate a maximum of three hundred and seven inmates but now accommodates over one thousand, five hundred inmates.
During interaction with some of the inmates, members of the advisory council were astonished by the discovery of a husband and wife jailed for 37 years, leaving their six children at the mercy of society. The 71 years old man, who is already partially blind, pleaded with the council to consider his plight and that of his wife by granting them pardon.
While explaining the purpose of the visit to journalists who were prevented from taking pictures at the prison facilities, the chairman of the advisory council disclosed that, as a statutory body empowered to advise the governor in exercise of powers vested in him by the constitution in granting amnesty to prisoners, said the council will make appropriate recommendations for clemency to deserving inmates on death row and others serving various terms of imprisonment by the governor.
Mr. Okpakpor emphasized that only qualified applications received by the council would be considered and forwarded for approval.
The deputy controller in charge of the Warri Prison, Mr. Airiohuodion Sam, who expressed joy on the Advisory Council’s visit to the Warri Medium Security Prison, appealed to both the federal and the Delta State government to intervene in the crisis situation currently experienced by the prisons in the state by building additional facilities to accommodate condemned convicts.
The two hundred and twenty-two condemned convicts were later appeared physically before the chairman and members of the council to ascertain some of the claims contained in their applications and journalists were not allowed to take pictures of the inmates.