The interior minister, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has disclosed new information regarding detainees from Nigeria.
He claims he will meet with state governors to get an agreement on the widespread release of at least 30% of prisoners from detention facilities around the nation.
When he appeared on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, Aregbesola made this information known.
The interface, according to the minister, was required since state laws were broken by more than 90% of the prisoners.
Aregbesola added that more than 70% of the current 75,635 detainees were awaiting trial.
The minister claimed that the percentage of federal criminals in the system was much lower than 10% and that most of the persons in detention had broken state laws.
He claimed that as a result, they were still subject to the legal authority of their respective states.
The minister continued by saying that some of the prisoners had no need to remain in jail, making it imperative to decongest the nation’s 253 detention facilities.
Aregbesola, therefore, mention that all stakeholders must work towards a “better-structured criminal justice administration, otherwise, we will just be left with congested and overcrowded facilities”.
He stated, “I have written to the Nigerian Governors Forum to allow me to come and address them on how they can support the process of decongestion.
“Because the governors must buy into this system for us to do a massive decongestion, especially of Awaiting Trial Inmates.
“If we get the buy-in of state judicial authorities and the government of the states, we can pull out 30 per cent of those who are there.”
He claims that some of the prisoners who are awaiting trial have been there longer than the maximum sentence allowed by the law for the offense they were detained for, he continued by saying
“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?
“How long will that fellow 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 buying in and support from state governments.
“This is for them to critically know the situation and let them set up committees that will profile all those who are there.
“And help either to convict, release them or see if they have overstayed their required time,” the minister said.
Aregbesola promised that the interior ministry was taking all necessary steps to clear the correctional facilities of congestion.
He claimed that the meeting with the governors will aid in a critical evaluation of the issue and remove inmates who ought to have been released from the system.
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