According to Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, minister of the interior, 30 percent of prisoners held in detention facilities around the nation ought to be freed.
Aregbesola stated in an interview on Sunday, October 9, that he will meet with state governors to make a decision regarding the mass release of the prisoners. He also mentioned that 90% of them are being held for breaking various state laws.
According to him, over 70 percent of the 75,635 inmates across the country are awaiting trial. He said 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 the Nigerian 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 government of the states, we can pull out 30 per cent of those who are there,” he said.
“If you look at a man that is caught for petty theft and you are trying him for three years, even if you convict him for that crime, how long will he stay? How long will that fellow stay, probably six months, but without trial he will be there for three years.
Again, you arrested a boy under the bridge, there is no fixed crime and he is there forever and so on and so forth. So, we need the buying in and support from state governments.
This is for them to critically know the situation and let them set up committees that will profile all those who are there. And help either to convict, release them or see if they have overstayed their required time,” the minister said.