The Federal Government on Thursday granted amnesty to no fewer than 2,600 inmates as part of measures to decongest prison facilities in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, disclosed this at a conference at the headquarters of the Nigerian Correctional Service in Abuja.
He said at least 70 inmates, who are serving various terms for crimes against the society, would be processed and released later today.
Aregbesola said the affected inmates include inmates 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, “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 Centre in Abuja.
“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 Governors of the 36 states under whose jurisdiction most of the inmates were incarcerated will complete the exercise in line with the federal principle.”
Details of persons pardoned and granted amnesty are as below:
President Muhammad Buhari has granted presidential pardon to the following five convicted persons:
1. The Late Prof Ambrose Alli
2. The Late Chief Anthony Enahoro
3. Ex Lt. Col. Moses Effiong
4. Major E.J. Olanrewaju
5. Ajayi Olusola Babalola
“Prof Alli was the Governor of the old Bendel State in the Second Republic (1978-1983) and a great progressive, while Chief Enahoro was a foremost nationalist who moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence.”
The President has also approved an Amnesty for 2,600 inmates in Custodial Centers across the federation. This presidential amnesty DOES NOT apply to inmates sentenced for terrorism, kidnapping, armed banditry, rape, human trafficking, culpable homicide and other violent offences.
“The Governors of the 36 States under whose jurisdiction the inmates were incarcerated will complete the exercise in line with our federal principle.”
“These [2,600 beneficiaries of the Amnesty] include 885 convicts who could not pay their fines totalling N21.4 million which @NigeriaGov will pay on their behalf to enable them get their freedom.”
This Presidential Amnesty is in line with the Administration’s goal of decongesting Nigeria’s Custodial Centers, a task now given urgency by the outbreak & continued spread of COVID19.
Other decongestion measures approved by the President have been announced by Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola.