In most Nigerian prisons, the number of inmates awaiting trial is far more than those that have been convicted for different crimes.

An official of the government said more than 70% of inmates in prisons were awaiting trial.

The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje‎, visited a prison in Kano on Sunday to mark this year’s Eid-el-Fitr.

Meant For Convicts

According to the minister, the decision to visit the prison was to show to the inmates that the government is aware of their existence. ‎

“The high number of awaiting trial inmates is worrisome, because the prisons are meant for convicts, but you find out at the end of the day that more than 70 per cent of the people there are awaiting trial inmates,” he said.

‎Earlier, Governor Ganduje‎ said he had secured the release of 50 inmates and also approved the release of additional 500 inmates in prisons across the state.

He said that the gesture is part of the activities to celebrate Eid-el Fitr in the state.‎

Ganduje explained that the released inmates were selected based on gravity of their offence and sign of reformation while in prison.

He advised them to desist from acts that led them there.

The governor also said the state government would assist them with some money to enable them travel back to their communities.‎

Prison officials have attributed the high number of inmates awaiting trial to lack of vehicles needed to convey suspects to courts.

In Benue State, over 90% of the inmates in a prison there are awaiting trial and officials said they had had to hire vehicles to take inmates to courts, even after the Nigerian government approved 3.5 billion Naira for the purchase of 320 operational vehicles for the service, but that is not happening.