Nigeria frees 4,000 prisoners to ease jail crowding

Monday, Nov 20, 2023

LAGOS: Thousands of detainees across Nigeria have been released from prison in an effort to tackle overcrowding, interior minister Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo said on Sunday on social media.

The move marks part of a drive by Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was elected earlier this year, to decongest Nigeria´s overpopulated prisons.

“Yesterday, we flagged off the release of 4,068 of the 80,804 inmates in our 253 correctional facilities nationwide, who have been held in custody due to their inability to pay fines,” Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo posted in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

He made the announcement after visiting the Kuje detention centre near the capital Abuja. The ministry´s spokesman Ajibola Afonja told AFP that “only inmates whose fines do not exceed one million naira have been chosen to benefit from this mass release.”