Relief is underway for scores of condemned prisoners and those jailed for life as part of measures to decongest prisons nationwide.
Interior minister, Abduraman Dambazzau, who gave this indication, said the Presidency is considering a state pardon for several of inmates in the country’s prison system.
The minister addressing the State House correspondents after the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the state pardon is one of the options being considered to decongest the prisons.
Other options, according to him is the conversion of death sentence of condemned convicts who had spent more than 10 years on death row to life jail, and some relief to those jailed for life who had spent more than 10 years in prisons.
Dambazzau explained that the Presidency is concerned over the congestion, which he attributed to the large number of those awaiting trial, who constitutes about seventy percent of the total prisons inmates.
The minister stated: “The council looked at the situation in Nigerian prisons, including the conditions of inmates and the state of the prisons themselves. This came out as a result of council’s directive a few weeks back.
“The major problem is terms of congestion is the issue of awaiting trials of inmates. Today, about 70 percent of awaiting trials constitute the prison inmates, 30 percent of them are convicted.
“So, this is the situation. It gives a lot of stretch to the prisons system in terms of rehabilitation, feeding and providing other essential amenities. It also makes the general administration extremely difficult.
“So, we made some suggestions as to how these problems can be tackled. About 200 of those inmates awaiting trials have been in prison for over 11 years. Quite a number of them have been in prison for about five to 10 years.”