By Soni Daniel
Kano— Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, confirmed, yesterday, that more than 70 per cent of Nigerian prison inmates were on the awaiting trial list.
Dambazau, who disclosed this during a visit with Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State to Kano Central Prisons, told the inmates that the visit was to demonstrate to them that the government was aware of their existence and the challenges they were grappling with.
He said the action was to mark this year’s Eid-el Fitr celebration.
The minister, who was apparently touched by the plight of some of the inmates, said: “The high number of awaiting trial inmates is worrisome because the prisons are meant for convicts, but you find out at the end of the day that more than 70 per cent of the people there are awaiting trial inmates.”
He said some of the inmates were supposed to stay for a few years but ended up staying for up to 15 years while awaiting trial.
The minister lauded the state governor for providing a vast piece of land for the building of 3,000 capacity modern prisons in the state.
While conducting the minister round the prison, Ganduje revealed that he had authorised the release of no fewer than 550 inmates as part of the celebration of Eid-el Fitr.
The governor said he would assist the inmates, who were freed based on the nature of their alleged offences and reformation signs demonstrated by them. He also promised to provide them with logistics to return to their communities and reunite with their families.
The governor, however, asked them not to return to criminal acts likely to take them back to prison,