By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, said weekend that the Federal Government, through the Presidential Committee on Correctional Reforms and Decongestion, has freed over 10,000 inmates in the past four years.
Malami, who noted that the presidential committee was inaugurated on October 30, 2017, said it was time for more attention to be focused on reformation of the juvenile justice system.
The AGF in a statement that was signed by his media aide, Dr. Umar Gwandu, further revealed that the committee released no fewer than 31 inmates from the Nigerian Correctional Centre in Kano State, including a teen bride that was convicted for killing her husband.
Rahma Hussein was in 2018, when she was 14 years old, convicted by a High Court in Kano State for stabbing her husband to death at Darmanawa area in Tarauni Local Government, about a week after their wedding.
According to the statement, she was granted state pardon by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State during an on-the-spot assessment of condition of Correctional Centres and inmates in the state by the Presidential Committee, led by a former Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Justice Ishaq Bello.
“In 2015, Rahama said to be 14 years at the time, was alleged to have been forcibly married off by her father and three days after, whilst her husband attempted to consummate the marriage, a struggle ensued which led to his unfortunate death.
While granting state pardon to Rahma, Governor Ganduje promised that the state government will support her rehabilitation process. The inmate is said to have been in custody for almost seven (7) years now,” the statement added.
It said the aim of the committee was to assess the condition of correctional centres and inmates, with a view to making payment of fines for inmates who were convicted for minor offences with option of fines, but unable to pay the fines, as well as for general review of peculiar cases.
“During the visits, 19 inmates were released through payment of fines by the Federal Ministry of Justice, 3 were released through payment of fines by the Buni Yadi Foundation and 2 were released as well through payment made by Policy Vault Africa. Similarly, additional seven inmates released due to old age.
“The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) brought to the attention of the chairman Hon. (Dr.) Justice I. U Bello, retd, the case of Rahama Husseini.
“Representatives of UNODC and Buni Yadi Foundation were also present to lend their voice and support to the release of Rahama.
“It might be recalled that on the 30th of October 2017,the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami,SAN constituted and inaugurated the Presidential Committee on Correctional Reforms and Decongestion.
“Over 10,000 inmates have been released through the committee. In recent times, the committee focused more attention on reformation of the juvenile Justice,” the statement further read.