COVID-19: Federal Government orders release of prison inmates (See Reason)

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As part of measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus, the Nigerian government has directed the Nigerian Correctional Service, NCS, to release all awaiting trial inmates in its custody.

It was gathered that awaiting trial inmates account for 70 per cent of the detainees in Nigeria’s correctional centres.

Minister of interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola who gave the directive, said the move is to prevent the ravaging coronavirus from spreading into the correctional centres.

In a statement, spokesman of the ministry, Mohammed Manga, Aregbesola revealed that the directive was informed by the decision of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, to avoid a worst-case scenario in the event of the centres being infected by the virus.

He added that the measure is aimed at ensuring the safety of the inmates, members of staff of the Nigeria Correctional Service and other Nigerians.

At the request of the federal government, state governors are expected to visit the custodial centres in their states with the chief judges and state attorneys-general, to consider and grant amnesty to deserving inmates.

The government had last week closed the country’s international airports to ensure those from high-risk countries do not find their way into Nigeria.