Coronavirus: FG Grants Amnesty To 2,600 Prisoners


President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of 2,600 inmates across the country as part of efforts to decongest the custodial centres and discourage the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola disclosed this at a World Press Conference at the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) on Thursday morning.

He said;

A total number of 2,600 inmates spread across our various custodial centres qualify to benefit from the amnesty.

These include 885 convicts who could not pay their fines totaling N21.4 million which the government will pay on their behalf to enable them get their freedom. From this number, 41 inmates are federal convicts, two of which have been granted pardon.

The minister expressed that affected inmates includes inmates that are 60years & above, those suffering from ill-health likely to terminate in death, convicts serving 3yrs & above & have less than 6 months to serve, inmate with mental issues and with option of fine not exceeding N50,000.

Aregbesola revealed the amnesty will not apply to inmates sentenced for violent extreme offences such as terrorism, kidnapping, armed banditry, rape, human trafficking, culpable homicide among others. 

He stated that five ex-convicts recommended for presidential pardon have been pardoned and they include; Prof Ambrose Ali, Late Chief Anthony Enahoro, Ex Lt. Col. Moses Effiong, Major E.J. Olanrewaju and Ajayi Olusola Babalola, 

Speaking at the occasion, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Justice Abubakar Malami, revealed that 39 were granted clemency – four of which are in the Kuje Custodial Centre.

Malami said the government’s action is in line with the advice of the UN which called on countries of the world to reduce the population of prisons so as to encourage social distancing.

According to Ja’afaru Ahmed, the Controller General of NCoS, there are 73,756 inmates in custodial centres all over the country presently with 51,983 of them on the Awaiting Trial list.

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