On Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari revealed his intention to grant a post-humous state pardon to the late playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni leaders who were executed 26 years ago during the military administration of the late Sani Abacha.
Photo: Ken Saro-Wiwa
Image Credits || Punch
Buhari dropped the hint when he was granted an audience to some Ogoni leaders at the State House in Abuja on Friday, describing the events that led to the execution of the “Ogoni sons” as unfortunate.
Recall that there have been several calls by socio-political groups home and abroad to clear off the Ogoni activists the crimes leveled against them but, even since the country returned to the fourth Republic in 1999, no government has ever raised the issue.
However, the questions being asked are, what is state pardon, why it is so important for the victims to get it, and must it be necessary for the dead victims to get pardoned?
A pardon exempts someone from punishment for a crime. In Nigeria, the constitution empowers both state governors and presidents to grant the pardon.
In the case of Ogoni 9, the alleged crime was within the jurisdiction of the federal government, therefore, it is President who has the absolute right to clear off the crime.
The execution of state pardon is meant to indicate forgiveness of a particular crime, either because a person was wrongfully convicted or the punishment was not appropriate for the crime committed.
As revealed by President Buhari, the execution of the Ogoni activists was wrongfully done, therefore they were deemed fit to be pardoned.
What Presidential pardon may do to ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 others?
It may restore various rights lost as a result of the pardoned offense and may lessen to some extent the stigma arising from the conviction meted out against them.
Even though the victims are dead, it may restore the dignity of the family,
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