Minister of interior, Comrade Abba Moro, has made it known that at least 38,000 prison inmates in Nigerian Prisons across the country are still awaiting trial.
Moro, who briefed State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, said the figure represented 70 per cent of the total 54,000 inmates currently in different prisons across the country. The minister had briefed the council on the key performance indicators of the ministry in 2012.
According to him, “As of the last count, like I told you, we had, out of the 54,000 prisoners that we have across the country, 38,000 of them are awaiting trial… And if only about half of it, 16,000 have actually been convicted. And those that have been convicted are being attended to and they are attending our regular courses; some of them are in the Open university, some of them are writing examinations and have registered for JAMB, writing NECO to obtain their first school leaving certificate and the rest of them,” he said.
According to the minister, he had also briefed FEC members that the Nigerian Prison Service was still operating on the basis of 1963 Prisons Act, which remained outdated. Moro noted that a new bill had been sent to the National Assembly, which would help to address some of the teething problems the prison system was facing.