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70% of 75,635 prisoners on awaiting trial list, Aregbesola reveals



The Nigerian Governors Forum has received a letter from Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola requesting a meeting to discuss decongesting the nation’s jails.

Sola Fasure, the minister’s media advisor, said this on Tuesday, in Abuja.

Aregbesola promised to meet with state governors in order to reach an agreement on the nationwide release of at least 30% of prisoners.

The minister also noted that more than 70% of the 75,635 prisoners currently incarcerated were doing so while awaiting trial and claimed that the interface was required because more than 90% of the detainees were being imprisoned for violating various state laws.

He said that the percentage of federal offenders in the system was much lower than 10% and that most of the people in detention had broken state laws.

Aregbesola 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.

However, speaking on the action taken by the minister, Fasure said, “The minister has written to the Governors Forum, but he has not met with them because they will have to communicate with him and give him a date.

READ ALSO:‘Maina feigning sickness to escape from custody,’ Aregbesola tells court

“He wrote to them with the request that he wants to meet with them, but he is yet to get a response. In other words, the meeting has not been held.”

The Federal Government further reported on Tuesday that more than 12,000 prisoners had been freed from different correctional facilities across the nation over the previous six years in accordance with the strategy of prison decongestion.

This was addressed to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters members during the committee’s 2023 budget defense session by Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

Malami said the Federal Government was able to decongest prisons across the nation by policy efforts aside from the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, aimed for expedited dispensation of Justice, in response to a question from Senator Ajibola Basiru (APC Osun Central).

“When this government came on board in 2015, the problem of prison congestion was at the front burner of national discourse , which made President Muhammadu Buhari to set machineries in motion in different ways for required solution.

“One of such machineries set in motion was a presidential committee set up for prison decongestion which liaised with other stakeholders in the justice sector for way out .

“Aside from the committee, Mr President himself also wrote letters to the 36 states governors and Chief Judges of the states for required visitations to prisons and exercise of prerogative of mercies from time to time,” Malami explained.

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