In Nigeria, thousands of inmates released to relieve prison congestion

In Nigeria, thousands of inmates released to relieve prison congestion

Devant le centre pénitencier de moyenne sécurité de Kuje, près d’Abuja, au Nigeria, le 6 juillet 2022. © Kola Sulaimon / AFP

In front of the Kuje medium security penitentiary center, near Abuja, Nigeria, July 6, 2022. © Kola Sulaimon / AFP

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Published on November 19, 2023

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“We announced the release of 4 prisoners (…) detained due to their inability to pay their fines”, said Sunday the Minister of the Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, in a message posted on the social network Twitter), after having gone the day before to the Kuje detention center, near Abuja.

Excessive use of pre-trial detention

“Alone the detainees whose fines do not exceed one million naira (1 euros) were chosen for bénéficier of this mass release,” explained Interior Ministry spokesperson Ajibola Afonja. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo thus canceled fines totaling 585 million naira (or 651 euros), added le spokesperson.

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This decision is part of a process of relieving overcrowded prisons in Nigeria, desired by le president Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The Head of State ultimately wishes to integrate new practices within the system prison, notably the activation of non-custodial measures.

In Nigeria, the prison overcrowding rate rises to 147%, due to du excessive use of pre-trial detention. Prisoners often wait several years before to be judged.

(With AFP)

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