A Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, Foundation for Peace Professionals has urged the Federal Government to consider the release of 70 per cent of the Nigerian Prison inmates instead of the 30 per cent being proposed.
Telescope.ng reports that the NGO on Monday, October 10, while commending the move by the Federal Government to free 30 per cent of Nigerian prisoners to ease the huge population of inmates in the country’s Correctional Service Centre said that about 70 per cent of the population are awaiting trial inmates.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said he would liaise with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum for the release of 30 per cent of prison inmates to ease the problem of congestion in the prison, saying that 70 per cent of the 75,635 inmates in the prison are awaiting trial inmates.
According to the Punch NG, Aregbesola said the interface was necessary as more than 90 per cent of the inmates were being held for contravening state laws. He added that; over 70 per cent of the 75,635 inmates at present were awaiting trial.
“Federal offenders in the system were far less than 10 per cent and the bulk of people in custody were those who have run foul of state laws, adding that the decongestion of the 253 custodial centres nationwide was necessary as some of the inmates have no reason to remain in custody.
“I have written to the Nigeria 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 governments of the states, we can pull out 30 per cent of those who are there.” he said.
The NGO also known as PeacePro, championing advocacy for release of unsentenced prisoners in Nigeria however, advised the Federal Ministry of Interior to increase the percentage of consideration from 30 per cent to 70 per cent in order to ensure a total overall of the correctional facilities, owing to the fact that more than 70 per cent of inmates in the country are non-convicted prisoners.
According to a statement made available in Ilorin, the Executive Director of PeacePro, Abdulrazaq Hamzat, maintained that setting free suspects who have been held in detention without trial for a long period was far more honourable than keeping people perpetually in prison over petty offences, insisting that such perpetual incarceration of unsentenced prisoners was considered “destructive incarceration” rather than “correctional incarceration.”