The federal government said it has granted presidential pardon and amnesty to 2,600 inmates spread across various custodial centres in the country, to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in the facilities.
Minister of interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, disclosed this on Monday, during a presentation at the 3rd annual lecture on economy and security during COVID-19 at the Faculty of Arts, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
Aregbesola noted that the timely strategic and aggressive approach put up by the federal government during the novel coronavirus pandemic since 2020 is today been counted as successful giant stride that has positively impacted on the lives of inmates in Nigerian’s correctional centers.
In a statement signed by the Mohammed Ali, on behalf of the director press in the ministry, the minister explained that the inmates that benefitted from the presidential pardon included 885 convicts who could not pay their fines totaling ₦21.4million which the government paid on their behalf to enable them get their freedom.
Speaking on the yardstick and criteria used by the federal government to arrive at the selection of inmates for the presidential pardon amongst others, the minister said, old age, ill-health, convicts serving three years and above, those who have less than six months to serve, inmates with mental health issues, as well as those with options of fines not exceeding ₦50,000 who have no pending cases, were considered.
READ ALSO: Alleged Fraud: Court Threatens Arrest Of Ex-Aviation Minister Oduah
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of Ekiti State University, Professor Edward Olanikpeku, had commended the minister for honouring the invitation despite his tight schedule, even as he described him as a “Golden Fish” not only in politics but in every aspect of human endeavour.
Also speaking, chairman of the occasion and speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Funminiyi Afuye, noted that COVID-19 pandemic poses great threat or hardship to the citizens.