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Can A First Lady Grant Amnesty To A Criminal?

Sheriff’s wife grants amnesty to 5 female prisoners

AHMED MARI, Maiduguri

The wife of the Borno State Governor, Mrs. Fatima Ali Sheriff, has granted amnesty to five female prisoners in the state.

http://odili.net/news/source/2009/jun/9/706.html

She granted the amnesty when she toured some prisons in Maiduguri to asses the condition of prisoners, especially female prisoners with a view to assisting them. The first lady, who presented some gifts to the inmates, promised to set up skill acquisition centres in various prisons across the state to ensure that inmates are economically empowered after serving their various jail terms.

At the Professor Umaru Shehu ultra-modern hospital, Mrs. Sheriff promised to take up the issue of medical treatment of some patients who were in critical health conditions but cannot afford to pay their medical bills, and challenged wives of local government chairmen to take the issue of maternal health very seriously.

On poverty eradication, Mrs. Sheriff said, the Ministry of Women Affairs recently organised a combined graduation ceremony of products of its skill acquisition centres in Maiduguri, with over 4,000 trainees graduated in diverse fields covering tailoring, knitting, Home Economics appliances.

She also said the ministry has been collaborating with National Agency For the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other related matters (NAPTIP) to ensure the freedom and safety needs of victims of trafficking which is very rampant in recent times.

The ministry has also evacuated over 100 lunatics on the streets of Maiduguri, and subsequently sponsored for their treatments at the psychiatric hospital Maiduguri.

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19 answers

Error which I corrected. Thanks

Makes more sense that she that she put names forward, however the report does say she granted prisoners amnsesty. Either that was the case or it is lazy journalism. Its Nigeria so both highly probable

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@ Sky Blue

The woman in question here is NOT Mrs. Yaradua but Mrs. Sherriff - Borno State First Lady.

Just note!

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I agree with that point, in my opinion, she only recommended, the final decision was made by the Governor and the Judiciary.

And everyone, even you and myself, has the right to put forward people's names for amnesty, the rest lies on the Governor's final decision.

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Is the issue really wether the first lady has the power to grant amnesty or wether the first lady does not know the basic constitution and laws of the country? The simple truth is that I won't be surprised if Mrs Obama or Mrs Brown or even Mrs Bush could achieve such a feat, maybe out of pity on some inmates met during visit, talk to some people and get some prisoners (especially if it is minor crimes) released, basically backyard shenanigans and all hush hush. No biggie, they are afterall the wives of some powerful people.

The issue in the case of Mrs Sherrif is that this is clearly unconstitutional and it was done in public and in front of the press hence showing obvious ignorance of the basics of laws and the constitution or a complete disrespect and disregard for them, therein lies the shame and this is how I see the issue. What is scary is the blatant disregard and the various conclusions one can draw from that? This is tantamount to farting blatantly in public and calling the press to record the event incase anyone missed the pitch of the flatulence.

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From the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 http://www.nigeriacongress.org/resources/constitution/Constitution%20of%20the%20Federal%20Republic%20of%20Nigeria.htm

The power of the President to grant pardon

175(1) The President may -

(a) grant any person concerned with or convicted of any offence created by an Act of the National Assembly a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions;

(b) grant to any person a respite, either for an indefinite or for a specified period, of the execution of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence;

(c) substitute a less severe form of punishment for any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence; or

(d) remit the whole or any part of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence or of any penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to the State on account of such an offence.

(2) The powers of the President under subsection (1) of this section shall be exercised by him after consultation with the Council of State.

(3) The President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State, may exercise his powers under subsection (1) of this section in relation to persons concerned with offences against the army, naval or airforce law or convicted or sentenced by a court martial."

The power of the Governor to grant pardon

212. (1) The Governor may -

(a) Grant any person concerned with or convicted of any offence created by any law of a state a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions;

(b) grant to any person a respite, of the execution of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence;

(c) substitute a less severe form of punishment for any person for such an offence; or

(d) remit the whole or any part of punishment for any punishment imposed on that person for such any offence or of any penalty forfeiture otherwise due to the state on account of such an offence.

(2) The powers of the governor under subsection (1)of this section shall be exercised by him after consultation with such advisory council of the state on prerogative of mercy as may be established by law of the State.

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I really dont know what the underlying laws are, so i cant say!

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The Federal law does not permitt her to do so. But what about her state law?

I think we need to do some research here before jump into conclution.

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It is possible that the first lady simply announced the pardon granted to the prisoners, as I expect the pardon to have been granted before the visit.

The pardon is granted by the governor, who is expected to have consulted with the judiciary and the Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy.

I doubt she could walk into the prison and set people free indiscriminately.

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Its simple, if the judge that sentence this prisoners does not agree with the first lady, then the first lady don hit brick wall be dat. She will find herself in an akward sitiuation, firstly she has no leg to stand on, neither does she have any constitional, moral, or professional right to over turn a pronoucement or judgment of a High court or any other court as the case may be. It will be a total an embarrassment to the governor of the state, I think some of our Governors needs to be embarassed and humilated.

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Only in Nigeria can even a first son or daughter can do anything.

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i do not think the constitution recognizes first lady/man (whether state, federal and all others in between) more than them being the spouse of the states first citizen. all this madness makes me wonder.

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The move was totally illegal as the constitution does not confer them with any executive powers other than the one conferred on ordinary citizens.

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Do we have any legal eagle in the house? I know States laws are some how different from that of the country as a whole sometimes. But it would be nice to know the legality surrounding this move.

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This is very unconstitutional. The first lady has no official executive power to do such.

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more than a few government websites, be it ministry, parastatal, etc are all about the governor, director, minister and the likes with no valued information available to visitors.

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Really? Surely she shouldn't be able to do so. But it's 9Ja afterall.

Some States websites are all about the governor and his wife as if it's a family business.

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that happens in nigeria where being the first lady makes u the number 2 officer of the state and part of the government. and where the state judiciary and the legislature are useless and on its knees getting screwed by the governor.

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