A directive has been issued to the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) to release the inmates, who constitute 70 percent of the detainees in the prisons.
Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, said that the move was to prevent the ravaging coronavirus from spreading to the prisons.
Aregbesola said at a meeting in Abuja that the measure would ensure safety of the inmates, members of staff of the Nigeria Correctional Service and Nigerians.
The minister advised the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, state Chief Judges, state governors should also identify measures to decongest custodial centres.
Nigeria currently has of 244 custodial centres, 139 of which are the core outlets and 85 as satellite centres with a total of 74,127 inmates, among which 1,450 are females, 21, 901 convicted and 52,226 awaiting trial.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Sadiya Farouk, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, said that the government was introducing palliatives that would reach more than 11 million vulnerable people.
She confirmed on Wednesday that the country had started the distribution, first with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Northeast of the country where two months ration of relief materials had been sent.
The government, she said, had already compiled a social register with details of those considered as the vulnerable.
”Let me give you a brief statistics of this social register. The social register has captured 11,045,537 individuals, covering 2,644,995 poor and vulnerable households around the country, with 47,698 communities, 4,946 wards and 453 local government areas in 35 states.