Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, says the high number of Awaiting Trial Inmates (ATIs) totalling 51,541 is putting undue pressure on custodial centres in the country.

The minister said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that the sheer number of the ATIs is a threat to the security of the custodial centres.

There are a total of 75,635 inmates in various prisons in the country are awaiting trial.

Mr Aregbesola said that the situation was the greatest challenge the service has presently.

“No fewer than 70 per cent of Nigerian inmates are serving time without being sentenced as they are awaiting trials.

“Assuming the period of waiting for trial is even small, probably it will not be an issue, we can manage it.

“How can you put people on trial for fifteen, ten years, how? and they are not a small number.

“Some are even there forever, there is no file, there is no prosecution process, they are just there.

“Our own is to keep, we have no power over who are there, we cannot release them. So, as long as there is a warrant to detain them, we keep them,” he added.

Mr Aregbesola, therefore, called for a review of the administration of criminal justice system of the country to provide timeline for trials.

“The administration of criminal justice is such that the timeline we give for trials is indefinite. I don’t believe this is the way it should be, and it is putting pressure on the system,” he said.

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