More than 4,000 Nigerian prisoners were released on Saturday as part of a drive to reduce prison overcrowding in the country, Interior Minister Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo announced on Sunday.
“We have announced the release of 4,068 prisoners (…) detained because of their inability to pay their fines”, said the minister in a message posted on the social network X after visiting the Kuje detention centre, near Abuja, the previous day.
“Only detainees whose fines do not exceed 1 million naira (€1,113) have been chosen to benefit from this mass release,” Interior Ministry spokesman Ajibola Afonja told AFP.
Mr Tunji-Ojo cancelled fines totalling 585 million naira (651,000 euros), the spokesman added.
This decision is part of a process to relieve overcrowding in Nigeria’s prisons, a goal of Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Ultimately, the Head of State hopes to introduce new practices into the prison system, in particular the use of non-custodial measures.