Human Rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN) has called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to extend presidential pardon to people serving terms for petty thieving.
This is coming in reaction to a presidential pardon granted to 159 convicts by the Council of State on Thursday.
Speaking at the 1st anniversary of Afenifere’s late spokesman, Yinka Odumakin’s Lecture and Book Presentation on Friday in Ikeja, Falana said granting presidential pardon, irrespective of class, would give a reflection of equality and fairness for all before the law.
According to him: “All petty thieves in our prisons should be released. Under Section 17 of the 1999 Constitution, there shall be equality and equal rights for all citizens.
“Section 42 of the Constitution says there shall be no discrimination on the basis of class and gender, so you cannot take out a few people on the basis that they belong to a category or section of the society.
“I can assure you that if the government did not release others, I am going to call on lawyers whose clients are left in custody to come to court and challenge the discriminatory treatment on their clients.”
He further said: “Just two weeks ago, a Nigerian was jailed for stealing N1,000 in Abuja; the accused pleaded with the judge that he had no food but the judge jailed him for six months.
“When we’re talking of justice and fair play, if you want to pardon some set of people, then you must also extend presidential pardon to petty thieves in the prisons.”