Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, the minister of the interior, says he will meet with state governors to agree on the mass release of at least 30% of inmates from all prisons in the country.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday, Aregbesola disclosed this information.
The minister said that the interface was needed because over 90% of the prisoners were being held for breaking state laws.
Additionally, Aregbesola stated that more than 70% of the 75,635 current inmates were awaiting trial.
The minister stated that the percentage of federal offenders in the system was significantly less than ten percent and that the majority of those in custody had broken state laws.
He stated that as a result, they were being held in the states’ legal jurisdiction.
The minister went on to say that the 253 prisons across the country needed to be decongested because some of the prisoners have no reason to stay in jail.
Aregbesola urged all parties involved to work toward a “better-structured criminal justice administration; otherwise, we will just be left with overcrowded and congested facilities.”
“I have written the Nigerian Governors Forum to allow me to come and address them on how they can support the process of decongestion,” he stated.
“Because in order for us to perform a significant decongestion, particularly of Awaiting Trial Inmates, the governors must accept this system.
“We can remove 30% of those who are there if we get the buy-in of state judicial authorities and the state government.”
He stated that some of the prisoners awaiting trial have served longer sentences than required by law for the offense for which they were arrested.
“How long will a man remain in prison if he is found guilty of petty theft and tried for three years? Even if he is convicted, how long will he remain in prison?
“How long will that individual remain? Probably six months, but three years if he is not tried.
“Again, you arrested a boy under the bridge; there is no fixed crime, and he will remain there forever, and so on and so forth,” the officer continued.
Therefore, we require state government support and buy-in.
They will be able to establish committees to profile everyone present in order for them to acquire a critical understanding of the situation.
The minister added, “And help either convict them, release them, or see if they have overstayed their required time.”
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