President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of 2,600 prison inmates across Nigeria.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, announced at a press conference on Thursday, April 9, 2020, that the amnesty is part of the Federal Government’s efforts to decongest the custodial centres and discourage the spread of coronavirus (COVID19) in the country.
The minister said that the affected inmates are state offenders in custodial centres across the country.
He noted that the amnesty only applies to inmates who are 60 years old and above; those suffering from ill health that could be terminal; inmates serving three years and above and have less than six months left to serve; inmates with mental issues; and inmates with options of fine not exceeding N50,000.
Aregbesola said the amnesty will not apply to inmates sentenced for violent offences such as terrorism, kidnapping, armed banditry, rape, human trafficking, and culpable homicide.
“The president has graciously approved this request and others,” the minister said during a press conference.
He said governors of all 36 states in the country will complete the amnesty exercise in line with the federal principle.
41 federal inmates and 29 inmates in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja who met the pardon criteria will be released today from the Kuje Custodial Centre, the minister said.
As of April 8, Nigeria has recorded a total of 276 coronavirus cases in 16 states and the FCT.
44 people have recovered and been discharged, but six people have died.