Niger to grant prisoners amnesty in order to decongest the prisons.

Tunde Bolaji – Minna

Niger state government has started plans to decongest prisons by  granting amnesty to prisoners who have been of good behavior.

The Government through

the Secretary, Advisory Council on Prerogatory and Permanent Secretary, Political, Alhaji Baba Wachiko Yahaya said the Council will recommend to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello to apply leniency on inmates who have been on good behavior.

The team  visited the Minna Old Prison and Minna Medium Prisons, Tunga where Prisoners scheduled for amnesty were presented to them for the governor’s leniency and pardon.

According to Wachiko “the state government is ready to grant amnesty to well behaved inmates and those who have certain challenges especially on health grounds.

“We discovered that most of the inmates are youths and they either have less than Six months or could not pay their fine options to gain freedom.”

He added that the exercise will help the Government have comprehensive detail of the number of inmates across the state and those that can be co-opted and integrated back into the society.

“We want to also see how this can help decongest the eight prisons in the state and also see how we can improve the prison facilities to better the lives of the inmates,” he said

One of the inmates, turned General Pastor of the Minna Old Prisons, Ejike Nwaebeko assured that he will be of good behavior when granted amnesty.
“I committed the crime when I was a very young boy. Now, I have turned my craftiness into becoming a Craftsman, ever since I arrived here (Prisons), I told myself that I was foolish but now I am wiser and better. I am teaching other inmates on how to become Craftsmen when they also leave here.”

The team said it will consider inmates on the ground of ill health, age, less than 6 months left to serve, good conduct and those with option of fine and compensation.

Among those being considered for amnesty are two blind inmates, a 70 year old retired soldier, a mentally deranged inmate and others.
No female was considered for amnesty according to Ikyernum James, Superintendent, Admin and Staff on behalf of the Deputy Controller of Prisons.

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