As part of the strategy to decongest correctional centres in the country, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday approved the release of 2,600 prison inmates across Nigeria. The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, announced this at a press conference yesterday (Thursday, April 9, 2020). He said the amnesty is part of the Federal Government’s efforts to decongest the custodial centres and discourage the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic in the country.
According to the minister, the affected inmates are state offenders in custodial centres across the country. He said that the amnesty only applies to inmates who are 60 years old and above; those suffering from ill health that could be terminal; inmates serving three years and above and have less than six months left to serve; inmates with mental issues; and inmates with options of fine not exceeding N50,000.
The minister added that the amnesty will not apply to inmates sentenced for violent offences such as terrorism, kidnapping, armed banditry, rape, human trafficking, and culpable homicide. He stated, “The president has graciously approved this request and others,” he told journalists, adding that governors of all 36 states in the country will complete the amnesty exercise in line with the federal principle. According to him, the 41 federal inmates and 29 inmates in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja who met the pardon criteria will be released from the Kuje Custodial Centre, the minister concluded.