Written by Austine ELEMUE

FCT Minister Frees 114 Prisoners, Pays N1 million Fines

Federal Capital Territory Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, had paid N1.3 million court fines for 114 inmates out of the 126 that were pardoned at the Medium Security Prison in Kuje, as part of the administration's prerogative of mercy. 

Our correspondent learnt that the 126 inmates that regained freedom are drawn from Suleja, Keffi Centre 1 and 2, respectively, just as the offences committed by the inmates ranges from theft, smoking of Indian hemp, fighting and armed robbery, amongst others. 

Bello, who was represented by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr. Christian Ohaa, made the announcement in Abuja when the Presidential Committee on Prison decongestion visited the Medium Security Prison in Kuje, Abuja.

“We are paying this court fines for these inmates as part of the FCT contributions to prison decongestion in the territory. We are also using the gesture to assist the less privileged inmates to become free citizens as we know that they may be left in prison for longer times because they have no one to assist them’’, the minister said. 

Bello also disclosed that the FCTA has concluded plans to build a world class children and young prison that will take care of youth convicts. 

“We have concluded arrangements to build a world class children and young prisons for our youths, we are also going to build a booster institute that would serve as counseling and rehabilitation centre that would reshape our youths and children," he affirmed.

In his remarks, chairman of the Presidential Committee on De-congestion of Prison Reforms, Justice, Ishaq Bello, expressed gratitude to the FCT administration for the gesture in bailing out the young ones, the vulnerable from the hands of the law. 

Justice Bello, who is also the FCT Chief Judge, said that if completed, the proposed children and young people’s prison will go a long way to change the perception of the youths from being wayward and irresponsible in the society to become better citizens of the country. 

In addition to the 114 inmates freed by the FCT Minister, 10 were also freed by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and one each by PLAC, a non-governmental organization and Hajiya Naja’atu Mohammed, bringing the total to 126.  

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