Aregbesola seeks release of 30% prison inmates

MINISTER of Interior Rauf Aregbesola is seeking the release of 30 per cent of prison inmates nationwide to decongest the custodial centres.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Aregbesola said he would meet with governors across the country to deliberate on the issue.

“I have written the Nigerian Governors Forum to allow me to come and address them on how they can support the process of decongestion.

“The governors must buy into this system for us to do a massive decongestion, especially of Awaiting Trial Inmates,” the minister said.

He noted that over 70 per cent of inmates in custodial centres were awaiting trial and had stayed longer than the punishment time under the law.

“If you look at a man that is caught for petty theft and you are trying him for three years, even if you convict him for that crime, how long will he stay? Probably six months, but without trial he will be there for three years.






     

     

    “Again, you arrested a boy under the bridge, there is no fixed crime and he is there forever and so on and so forth. So, we need the buy-in and support from state governments,” he said.

    He stated that the support of state governments was necessary as most inmates were being detained for breaking state laws.

    The minister urged governors to set up committees, which would profile inmates and release those who may have overstayed the required time.

    He further called on all stakeholders to work towards a better structured criminal justice system to curb overcrowded custodial centres.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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