President Muhammadu Buhari has sought the release of “deserving” prisoners across the Correctional centers in the country amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The Nigerian leader made this known on Tuesday in a letter addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Ibrahim Muhammad.
POLITICS NIGERIA had reported that the federal government had released 2,600 inmates across Nigeria to curtail the transmission of the coronavirus in prisons.
According to the letter, President Buhari asked the CJN to contact state chief justices to immediately visit correction centers in their states to free such inmates.
“The overcrowded facilities pose a threat to the health of the inmates at this time hence the need for urgent steps to bring the situation under control, ” media aide to the president, Femi Adesina, quoted President Buhari as saying.
“It has become imperative for Your Lordship to request State Chief Judges to embark on an immediate visit to all custodial/correctional centres within their respective States to identify and release deserving inmates where that has not been done already,” Buhari said in the letter.
“It is expected that particular attention should be on the aged, those with health issues, low risk offenders, those with no sufficient legal basis to remain in custody, inmates convicted for minor offences with or without option of fines and inmates who have less than 3 years term left to serve having served a substantial term of their service for offences that attract 5 years and above.
“Payment of fines may be made in favour of inmates convicted of lesser offences with option of fine, who are in custody because of their inability to pay such fines.”
The president also urged the CJN to consider putting in place special courts in all states and Abuja to try cases of serious offences such as armed robbery and kidnapping “in order to facilitate speedy trials.
He noted that such compliance will regulate the number of inmates awaiting trial being admitted into the prisons.
“There is the need to ensure that the Chief Judges of States and FCT High Courts direct lower courts to comply with requirements of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act/Law in issuing remand warrants in criminal cases especially in cases which are not within their jurisdiction,” he added.