SWITZERLAND, APRIL 09 – The federal government says it is freeing 2,600 inmates in various prisons to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, announced that the government has decided to grant amnesty to the inmates at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday.
He said said among those to be freed include sick and old inmates.
Rauf Aregbesola at a press conference at the headquarters of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) in Abuja disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the decongestion.
“In a symbolic gesture of the amnesty given to the 2,600 inmates across Nigeria, 41 Federal inmates and 29 FCT inmates making a total of 70 inmates who met the above criteria will be released today from the Kuje Custodial Center in Abuja,” Aregbesola said.
“This amnesty will not apply to inmates sentenced for violent extreme offences such as terrorism, kidnapping, armed banditry, rape, human trafficking, culpable homicide and so on.”
The interior minister said the governors of the 36 states under whose jurisdiction most of the inmates were incarcerated will complete the exercise in line with the federal principle.
Aregbesola disclosed that the affected inmates include those that are 60years and above, those suffering from ill-health likely to terminate in death, convicts serving three years and above and have less than six months to serve, inmates with mental issues and inmates with an option of fine not exceeding N50,000.
He said at least 70 inmates, who are serving various terms for crimes against the society, would be processed and released on Thursday.
Aregbesola disclosed that Buhari also granted amnesty to five ex-convicts- Late Professor Ambrose Ali, Late Chief Anthony Enahoro, Ex Lt. Col Moses Effiong, Major E. J Olanrewaju, and Mister Ajay I Olusola Babalola.