The Attorney General (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami told the National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday to tackle the challenges associated with the cases of 2.359 condemned convicts in prisons nationwide in an effort to decongest the prisons.
The Bauchi State Governor, Abubakar Mohammed, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting presided over by its Chairman, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
He said that the AGF briefed the Council on the prison decongestion and the cases of condemned convicts nationwide, saying: “Available statistics put the number of condemned convicts nationwide at 2359 as at Wednesday, July 18, 2018.
“The attention of the nation’s security apparatus has been drawn to the deplorable state of prisons nationwide as a potential national security threat – as a large number of inmates have overstretched the existing facilities rendering them grossly inadequate, inhumane, and uninhabitable.
“The rising incidents of prison breaks aggravate the attendant risks to localities within the vicinity of these prisons.
“Council informed that the Minister of Interior had presented an Executive Memorandum to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the need for immediate action to prevent failure and breakdown of the prison system.
“FEC, on Wednesday, 24th May, 2017 directed the Federal Ministry of Justice to put in place measures to fast-track the decongestion of prisons nationwide – and National Stakeholders Committee on Prisons Reforms and Decongestion was inaugurated sequel to the FEC directive.
“So far, the initiative of the Stakeholders Committee and visitation to some prisons led to release of 1,310 inmates
“Council is invited to note the cases of condemned convicts and the role of State Governors as statutorily empowered to; sign death warrants or commute the death sentence to life imprisonment or exercise powers to grant prerogative of mercy in deserving cases.”
On the recommendations, he said “State Governors may wish to carry out a review of the cases of condemned convicts within their jurisdiction as enshrined in Section 212 of the 1999 Constitution.
“The Nigerian Prisons Service to review its policy on inter-State transfer of prisoners to reduce incidences of prisoners being held outside the State conviction.
“Cases of convicts imprisoned outside the state of conviction may be forwarded to the Governor of the State where they were sentenced for consideration.”
He said that the Council noted the recommendations and welcome action by Governors to act in line with Section 212 of the Constitution.