About 126 prisoners have been freed after their fines were paid by the FCT Administration on Thursday, December 28, 2017.
The Minister of the FCT, Muhammad Bello, announced the reprieve when the Presidential Committee on Prison De-congestion visited the Kuje Medium Security in order to review cases of inmates who upon conviction, could not pay the stipulated fines, or those who had stayed beyond their sentence terms.
The Committee on was inaugurated on October 31, 2017 by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), pursuant to a directive by the Federal Executive Council.
Justice Ishaq Bello said that 114 of the convicts had their fines paid by the FCT minister, while 10 others had theirs paid by the Attorney General of the Federation. Hajia Najatu Muhmmad and Esther Uzoma of the Proactive Gender Initiative paid for one convict each.
According to THE PUNCH, Malami in his goodwill message, noted that prison congestion affects the quality of our justice delivery system and also impacts adversely on the human rights of inmates.
He said, “This is why it becomes necessary to prioritise today’s exercise which will be replicated across various prisons in the country.
“The payment of fines for convicts with options of fines but unable to pay, kick-starts the process which will be replicated in prisons across the nation.
“A review of cases of inmates awaiting trial of upwards of five years will also be conducted across the prisons.”
The Attorney General of the Federation also noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had communicated to the various state governors, the need to review cases with a view to decongesting the prisons.
According to PREMIUM TIMES, the Chief Judge of FCT, commended the minister for the establishment of a standard family as well as children and young persons’ court in the FCT, adding that the facility which is the first of its kind in the country, is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
Ishaq said “With this facility, those who are sleeping under the bridge, afflicted by drugs and often used to commit crimes, can be rehabilitated and reintegrated into their families”.
Article by Misthura Otubu