FG grants 2,600 prisoners freedom to curtail spread of COVID-19

The federal government has granted freedom to 2,600 inmates to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

The minister of interior, Rauf Aregbesola, disclosed this during a press briefing in Abuja, on Thursday.

He said the prisoners to be freed include sick and old inmates.

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The minister provided a breakdown of inmates to include: 60 years and above, suffering from ill-health likely to end in death, serving at least three years and have less than six months to serve, with mental issues, and with options of fine not exceeding N50,000.

He said the amnesty will not apply to inmates sentenced for violent extreme offences.

Aregbesola said 41 federal inmates and 29 others in the federal capital territory (FCT) totaling 70 will be released from the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja on Wednesday.

“This amnesty will not apply to inmates sentenced for violent extreme offences such as terrorism, kidnapping, armed banditry, rape, human trafficking, culpable homicide and so on,” he said.

Amnesty International (AI), among other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) had called for the decongestion of Nigerian prisons to curtail the spread of the nover coronavirus.

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“Prisoners and detainees at police and military facilities across Nigeria are at risk of contracting COVID-19 as they are held in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions that can be even more deadly in the hot weather,” AI director in Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, had said.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 276 cases of the disease in the country.

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