The Chairman, Delta State Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy, Chief Patrick Okpakpor has expressed concern on the large number of persons on death row at the Warri Medium Security Prison.
Chief Okpakpor, who was the first Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Delta State, expressed the concern during a maiden visit he paid to Okere Prison in Warri.
Leading other members of the Council on the visit Okpakpor expressed shock at the undignified and dehumanized conditions inmates are kept, even as he urged the Federal Government to have a second look into the Issue of death sentence.
The Chairman who was conducted round the detention facilities by the Deputy Controller of Prison, Mr Airiohuodion Sam, was stunned by the magnitude of congestion which he said should be treated as a national emergency.
He charged the Federal government to make adequate budgetary provisions to expand the already over stretched facility, originally designed and built to accommodate maximum of three hundred and seven inmates but now accommodates over one thousand, five hundred inmates.
Members of the Committee which include the Secretary, Barr Mrs Uju Monye, Dr Samuel Efetobor, Barr John Okoriko and Barr F. Njuokuemeni, were astonished with the discovery of a husband and wife jailed for 37 Years, leaving their six children at the mercy of the society.
The 71 years old man, who is already partially blind, pleaded with the Committee to consider his plight and that of his wife by granting them pardon.
While explaining the purpose of the visit, the Chairman disclosed that, as a statutory body empowered to advise the Governor in exercise of powers vested on him by the constitution in granting amnesty to prisoners, the Council would make appropriate recommendations for clemency to deserving inmates on death row and others serving various terms of imprisonment by the Governor.
He emphasized that only qualified applications received by the Council would be considered and forwarded for approval.
Earlier, the Deputy Controller in charge of Warri Prison, Mr Airiohuodion Sam, who expressed joy on the Advisory Council’s visit to Warri Medium Security Prison, appealed to 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.