70% of Nigerian prisoners held without trial — Prisons Chief

According to the head of the agency, Ja’afaru Ahmed, 51,983 inmates are awaiting trial out of the prison’s total population of 73, 726 inmates. That is about 70 per cent of the total.

Only 22, 773 inmates have been convicted, he said.

He gave the figures during the announcement of the 2020 Presidential Pardon and Clemency to inmates and ex-convicts.

The government has announced pardons aimed at decongesting correctional centres across the country amidst a coronavirus pandemic.

The latest statistics builds on previous ones that suggests that Nigerian prisons may hold more innocent people than criminals.

A Premium Times investigation in 2019 revealed how many inmates detained for what should pass as petty crimes have been forgotten in prison.

Some inmates found themselves in prisons only due to the suspicion of having committed a crime, and not an actual conviction. Arrests over petty crime such as shoplifting and traffic offenses also often see people land in maximum security prisons without being charged.

The Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola who announced the pardon at a press conference in Abuja, explained that the president had also approved the release of 2,600 inmates across various custodial centres in the 36 states of the federation.

Only inmates that are 60 years old and above, those suffering from ill-health that are likely to terminate in death, convicts serving three years and above and have less than six months to serve, inmates with mental health issues, and inmates with options of fines not exceeding N50,000 and have no pending case are eligible for the pardon.

 

– Premium Times

About Delia Innoma

Delia Innoma is a prolific writer, promoter, artist manager with full professional proficiency in English, German and Igbo languages. She studied accounting and computer programming at the Institute of Management and Technology Enugu and Germany respectively. Delia is also a devoted mother of two and she founded the Diamond Celebrities Magazine. Her sense of responsibility and commitment to the Christian faith are essential forces driving her daily activities.

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