The Council of State, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday in Abuja endorsed the appointment of Silas Agara, as Chairman of National Population Commission (NPC).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members of the National Council of State include former Heads of state, Senate President, former Chief Justices of Nigeria, Governors and some Ministers.
President Buhari had in two separate letters dated March 20 and August 12, 2020, nominated Agara, a former deputy governor of Nasarawa State, to head the NPC.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who confirmed the endorsement to State House correspondents at the end of Thursday’s virtual meeting, said the Council also approved six members of the Commission.
The affected members are: Muhammed Chiso Dattijo, (Sokoto); Alhaji Razaq Gidado, (Kwara); Ibrahim Mohammed, (Bauchi); Joseph Kwai Shazin, (FCT); Bala Almu Banye, (Katsina); and Mrs Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin from Lagos State.
It would be recalled that the Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa had denied media report that he joined forces with the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof Ibrahim Gambari to stop the appointment of Agara as Chairman NPC.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who also briefed the correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, said the Council endorsed the appointment of two legal practitioners as members of Federal Judicial Service Commission.
He said: “The two members to represent Nigerian Bar Association on the federal judicial service commission are Namoso Ekanem, from Akwa Ibom state representing the South South geo-political zone and Mahmud Abubakar Mogaji from Niger State to represent the North Central geo-political zone.’’
He also revealed that the Council approved the recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy where 45 persons were granted pardon, 39 inmates received clemency while four ex-convicts benefitted from presidential pardon.
Those pardoned include: Late Prof. Ambrose Ali, former governor of old Bendal State, who was indicted over N900,000, which he later paid but was convicted; Col. Moses Effiong and Maj. E.J. Olarenwaju, for attempted coup during the defunct Ibrahim Babangida era, and Ajayi Olusola Babalola.
Malami disclosed that the presidential committee on decongestion of the nation’s correctional centres had released over 4,000 inmates across the country in line with presidential directives occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What we have today is a consolidation of what has been done and the strategies put in place to see to the decongestion of our correctional centers.
“As you are aware, more than 70 percent inmates in our correctional centres were awaiting trial across the country and a lot of considerations were put in place to ensure our correctional centres are decongested and the prerogative of mercy was one of such considerations by Mr President,’’ he added.