Over 3,000 prisoners on death row in Nigeria – Correctional Service

ABOUT 3,413 inmates are on death row in Nigeria, the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) has said.

The NCoS’ spokesperson, Abubakar Umar, said this while addressing journalists on Friday, December 23, in Abuja.

According to Umar, as of Monday, December 18, 2023, the total number of inmates in correctional centres across the country was 77,849, comprising 76,081 males and 1,768 females.

Out of this number, awaiting trial inmates (ATIs) were 53,836, comprising 52,512 males and 1,324 females.

This implies that the number of inmates increased by 2,340 in December 2023 from 75,509 reported in December 2022. 

Similarly, the number of inmates on death row in Nigerian correctional facilities has increased by 115 when compared to the data given by the NCoS on April 19, 2023.

In April, Umar said there were about 3,298 inmates on death row in Nigerian correctional centres.

The NCoS’ spokesperson blamed the high number of death row inmates on the hesitation of state governors to sign death warrants.

According to him, death sentences are not always carried out due to the governors’ reluctance to sign warrants for the execution of condemned prisoners.

Umar further explained that sometimes, the execution of condemned prisoners is delayed because the concerned cases are still being appealed at higher courts.

Meanwhile, in his latest update on Friday, Umar said: “Awaiting trial persons in custody constitute 69 per cent of the total inmate population. This phenomenon is a huge challenge to us,” he said.

He explained that the service was working towards checking the trend by ensuring a speedy trial of suspects.

According to him, no form of internal insurrection was witnessed within the facilities in 2023, attributing the development to providing basic needs and necessities to inmates.

“This is through the deployment of technology for surveillance and provision of logistics for rapid response in and around custodial facilities.”

Umar highlighted that the NCoS engaged in collaborative efforts across agencies to enhance security within and around custodial centres.

He also noted that the proactive approach and support of the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, helped to reduce the number of inmates across the centres.

“The minister’s initiative ensured the release of 4,086 inmates who had options of fine and compensation,” he said.



    On December 1, The ICIR reported that the Federal Government raised N585 million to settle fines for 4,068 inmates languishing in various correctional centres nationwide.

    Giving an update during the release of 150 inmates from the Maximum Security Custodial Centre, Janguza, in Kano state, Tunji-Ojo, said the inmates were among the 4,068 prisoners the government intended to pay off their fines and allow them to return home.

    Meanwhile, on December 16, The ICIR, via data obtained from the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), reported that 54,141 inmates awaited trial in Nigeria as of December 11.

    The data also show that the number of inmates was 78,446, of which 24,305 had been convicted.


    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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