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COVID-19: Nigerian govt frees 2,600 prisoners to decongest prisons

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No less than 2,600 inmates will regain their freedom, as the federal government moves to decongest various prisons across the country in the wake of the coronavirus disease.

Nigeria Government said it has granted amnesty to no less than 2,600 inmates across the country.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who announced this on Thursday said the affected prisoners include:

Those suffering from ill-health likely to terminate in death, those 60 years and above, 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.

The government said it took the decision as part of efforts to decongest prison facilities across the country following the rising cases of COVID-19 pandemic in the Nigeria.

Aregbesola spoke at a conference at the headquarters of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) in Abuja.

The minister hinted no less than 70 inmates, who are serving various terms for crimes against the society, would be processed and released before the end of Thursday (today).

“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.

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“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,” Aregbesola said.

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