Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), has disclosed that over 70 per cent of inmates in prisons are awaiting trial over minor offences like stealing sugarcane, tubers of yam, Guardian reports.
The minister made his comments during a visit to the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, on Monday, February 5.
It was reported that Malami made the visit in company of Justice Ishaq Bello, Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, and other members of the stakeholders committee on the decongestion of prisons.
The minister stated that President Muhammadu Buhari gave a directive for the committee to be set up, in order to find ways to decongest the nation’s over-crowded prisons.
Malami disclosed that some 126,500 inmates had already been released through the payment of fines for minor offences; and that for cases requiring payment of fines, the committee was working to find immediate solutions.
He further disclosed that most inmates are aged between 18 and 25, with most of them imprisoned on drug-related offences.
Also speaking, Justice Bello stated that the prisons were so congested, that inmates could not even sit or sleep properly.
He further stated that this condition was damaging to the psyche of the inmates.
In response, the Rivers governor told the visitors, that his administration was working to decongest the Port Harcourt Federal Prison.