COVID-19: Nigeria frees 2,600 prison inmates


Nigeria’s government has announced amnesty to 2,600 prisoners as part of measures to decongest prison facilities across the country as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic rages.

The country’s Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, stated this during a press conference at the headquarters of the Nigerian Correctional Service at capital city, Abuja.

Among those to be freed, the minister said would include at least 70 inmates serving various terms for crimes against the society, the list which would be processed and released later on Thursday.

Mr Aregbesola announced the categories of inmate to be affected, to include those from 60 years and above, plus others suffering from terminal diseases; and those serving three years and above with less than six months to serve; others with mental issues; and inmates with an option of fine not more than N50,000.

“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,” Mr Aregbesola said.