Why Buhari Supported Release Of 500 Prisoners
President Muhammadu Buhari looked at the building in front of him, shook his head and could not believe what his eyes were seeing.
It is called a prison, but it looks more like a place where animals are kept and locked away to keep them from destroying people's farms.
He could not believe that a building, erected in 1910 has remained not so different from what it was like some 107 years ago.
Very few Nigerians are older than this facility, yet it houses persons that are below 20 years at the moment.
After a good look at the old and dilapidated structure, President Buhari wondered if it would be able to bring needed rehabilitation to the mind of any prisoner, especially one who was not up to 20.
In his heart, the pardon and freedom that the Kano State government had granted 500 of them, was something he had to given approval to and he wished more could go home.
He had requested for their names and ages and was not pleased that young Nigerians were languishing in the prison.
"I am pleased with this visit and I have learnt a bit more about the conditions of the prisons and inmates.
"This building in front of us was built since 1910. Rehabilitation of prisoners and training of inmates is very important to us and we would continue to invest more on this.
"I asked one of the inmates (released) how old he was and he told me he was only 19 years old.
"If we have people of 18 and 19 years in the prison, and there is no continuous training, then their lives will be completely destroyed. We will invest more in education and vocational training," he said.
The 500 inmates granted pardon, including men and women, were drawn from various prisons in Kano state, including Kurmawa prisons, which has 1,398 inmates as opposed to 750, the established capacity.
A report of the National Bureau of Statistics puts the number of prisoners in Kano as at 2016 at 4,183, with a total prison capacity of 2,116.
Out of this number of inmates, 62.62% of them were awaiting trial.
Earlier, the President who arrived Kano to a tumultuous welcome by the Government and people of the State at the start of a two-day state visit paid homage to the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II.
At the Emir’s place, President Buhari recounted his fond memories of Kano, as a symbol of peace, trade, commerce and industry in Nigeria.
‘‘If there is a problem here, the whole country has a problem. I remember the industry and employment people get in Kano.
‘‘Before the problem in the North East, I remember the number of articulated vehicles that leave this city to Maiduguri and the Cameroons, and the number of vehicles that come in from Chad and Niger, providing millions of jobs to Nigerians.
‘‘A lot of people in Nigeria didn’t realise how much the instability in the North East have cost the people and the industry here ’’ he said.
President Buhari, therefore, assured all Nigerians that the fight against the degraded Boko Haram will be sustained, in addition to the positive trends in the economy and the fight against corruption.
‘‘The three things we said in our campaign on security, economy and fighting corruption, nobody will be able to successfully disabuse the minds of Nigerians on our clear intentions for our country and our people,’’ the President declared.