Due to the widespread of Coronavirus epidemic in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has consented to let go of some individuals from correctional centres to reduce congestion which may likely have an impact on the global epidemic in the country.
It is understood that President Buhari had recently constituted a Presidential Committee for the decongestion of the Correctional Centres across the country.
Meanwhile, the Buhari was said to be concerned about seventy per cent of the inmates who were already awaiting trial.
Given details on Friday about the constituted committee, Spokesperson to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Umar Jibrilu said that “the committee recommended that Courts, Federal Ministry of Justice, the Correctional Service formations Governors, Attorney-Generals of States, intensify actions to reduce inmates amid the health challenges associated with Covid-19.”
“The Committee requested that Mr. President may wish to consider his powers of Prerogative of Mercy in speeding of decongestion, while Governors of States and their CJs be encouraged to visit correctional service formations for the purpose of decongestion,” he added.
“The Committee is of the view that the Federal Executive Council and the State Governments be encouraged to consider payment of fines in respect of minor offences for those categories of inmates that could not afford paying of same in respect of offences that attract fines arising from the convictions,” Jibrilu revealed.
He, however, further disclosed that the only inmates who have been in the correctional centres for more than ten years and those who are without any documentation relating to their detention and have also stayed long will be considered.
He said; “Others are those that have the option of fine, those that have been in the Centers on holding charges in respect of offences that the Magistrate that sent them to Correctional Service Formations do not have the jurisdiction to try the cases, among others.”
He reiterates that those excluded for the development are: “inmates serving jail terms for capital offences such as murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, rape and treason among others.”