4,000 Inmates Released To Ease Prison Overcrowding In Nigeria

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More than 4,000 Nigerian prisoners were released on Saturday as part of a drive to reduce prison overcrowding in the country, Interior Minister Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo announced on Sunday.

“We have announced the release of 4,068 prisoners (…) detained because of their inability to pay their fines”, said the minister in a message posted on the social network X after visiting the Kuje detention centre, near Abuja, the previous day.

“Only detainees whose fines do not exceed 1 million naira (€1,113) have been chosen to benefit from this mass release,” Interior Ministry spokesman Ajibola Afonja told AFP.

Mr Tunji-Ojo cancelled fines totalling 585 million naira (651,000 euros), the spokesman added.

This decision is part of a process to relieve overcrowding in Nigeria’s prisons, a goal of Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Ultimately, the Head of State hopes to introduce new practices into the prison system, in particular the use of non-custodial measures.