No fewer than 2,600 prisoners have been pardoned by President Muhammadu Buhari as part of measures to decongest prison facilities in the country.
In a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said 70 pardoned inmates will be processed and released today from Kuje maximum correctional centre.
Aregbesola added that other inmates will be also be released from other correctional centers across the country.
The minister said the prisoners who got pardoned are those that are 60years and above; those suffering from ill-health likely to terminate in death.
Others are convicts serving three years and above and have less than six months to serve; inmates with mental issues; and inmates with an option of fine not exceeding N50,000.
Aregbesola said that the decision to grant the inmates presidential pardon followed recommendations to the President by a Presidential Committee and the need to reduce the number of inmates in custodian centres across the country due to the outbreak of COVID 19.
He said, “In a symbolic gesture of the amnesty given to the 2,600 inmates across Nigeria, 41 Federal inmates and 29 FCT inmates making a total of 70 inmates who met the above criteria will be released today from the Kuje Custodial Centre in Abuja.
“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.
“The Governors of the 36 states under whose jurisdiction most of the inmates were incarcerated will complete the exercise in line with the federal principle.”
Aregbesola also announced that President Buhari has granted pardon to the former governor of old Bendel State, late Prof Ambrose Alli and a foremost nationalist, late Chief Anthony Enahoro.
He noted that with the presidential pardon, it means that they were never convicted of any crime.