Minister of Interior in the government of Nigeria, Rauf Aregbesola, believes that at least 30% of all the inmates serving their sentences in custodial centres must be released. The Minister plans to meet with state governors to discuss the matter.
Aregbesola revealed his intentions at the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.
According to the Minister of Internal statistics, federal offenders in the system were far less than 10 per cent, adding that the bulk of people in custody were those who broke or had gone against some state laws.
Further, Aregbesola stated that more than 70% of the 75,635 inmates were awaiting trial.
According to the Minister, it was essential to decongest 253 custodial centres nationwide as some inmates out of those who the police officials arrested have no reason to stay in custody.
Therefore, Minister Aregbesola stated that all stakeholders must work towards a “better-structured criminal justice administration.
If not, he said Nigeria will just have congested and overcrowded facilities.”
He revealed that He had written the Nigerian Governors Forum to allow him to come and address them. He wanted to talk to them about how they could support the decongestion process.
According to the Minister of Internal, the governors must agree with this system, so that (Nigeria) can implement massive decongestion, especially of Awaiting Trial Inmates.
According to him, while awaiting trial, some inmates end up staying longer than the punishment provided by law for the crime the police arrested them.
He gave an example of the situation: “If you look at a man 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, probably six months, but without trial, he will be there for three years.
Thus, we need to make genuine efforts to better the situation. In the same breath, Aregbesola assured that the interior ministry was doing everything to decongest the custodial centres.