Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Abubarkar Malami says policies that will
enhance decongestion of prisons across the country are under way.
Malami made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Marrakech, Morocco.
He led the Nigerian delegation to the two-day Intergovernmental Conference on Migration for the adoption of the Global Compact for
Migration (GCM) by 164 UN member-states.
The minister said that President Muhammadu Buhari, aside exercising the powers vested in him via the constitutional vessel of the
Prerogative of Mercy, had also set up a Special Committee on Prison Decongestion headed by FCT Chief Judge, Ishaq Bello.
According to him, the committee has performed well in “drastically’’ reducing the number of prison inmates within one year of its existence.
He added that “within a period of one year, the committee has succeeded in releasing a sizable number of prison inmates and in ensuring that
those that have not been accorded the opportunity of being taken to court are given such opportunity.
“I am and working with state governors, the Presidency and attorneys-general all over the federation, to ensure that we achieve the desired
success of decongestion of prisons.
“The committee is doing wonderfully well under the leadership of Chief Judge Ishaq Bello of the FCT in drastically reducing the number
of inmates within its short existence, especially as regards awaiting trial inmates, which before now, constituted about 70 per cent of
“We are also coming up with policies that will be sustainable in terms of prison decongestion.
“This is inclusive of legislation and networking with prison formations for the purpose of on-sight assessment on a daily basis by institutions
and agencies of government responsible for investigation, prosecution and associated things.’’
On the issue of migration, Malami described the GCM as a common roadmap of action among the comity of nations for the purpose
of addressing challenges associated with the challenge.
He said “what the nations are looking at is to have common position, agree on a common roadmap on the issues of safety, regularisation
and orderliness related to migration.’’
He explained that Nigeria was replete with legislation and institutional mechanisms, as well as being signatory to international collaborations,
treaties, international conventions and Memoranda of Understanding on migration issues.
He cited the Nigeria Immigration Service, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons and the National
Agency for the Prohibition of Traffick in Persons (NAPTIP) as some of the government institutions handling migration issues.
He added that the government was also working with other nations via agreements on migration issues, particularly as it relates to regularisation
and safety of the process.
He advised Nigerians migrating to other countries for greener pastures to desist, saying that the present administration was evolving
policies to make life meaningful and better.
Malami said that Nigerians who were thinking of migrating should instead appreciate nature’s endowment to the country and participate
in harnessing them for the good of all Nigerians.
He noted that the government’s agriculture policy had turned the sector around, giving farmers a new lease of life, thereby enabling them
to compete, which led to 90 per cent reduction in rice importation.
He cited fertiliser that was hitherto sold at N12,000 per bag for 50kg now being sold at N5,500 due to the policy that now supports local farmers.
He said “we have succeeded within two to three years in turning things around; our rice importation has drastically reduced by about 90 per cent.
“It is because Nigerians have seen opportunities in agriculture and they imbibed them because very favourable competition atmosphere is provided.
“Before now, our farmers could not compete; but arising from the protection that government presently accords them, they now produce and
the market is readily there; so, opportunities have been created for them to compete due to favourable government policies.”
He, therefore, underscored the need for Nigerians to appreciate the blessing of natural endowments, partake in the available
ventures, appreciate the protective government policy an abundant opportunities. (NAN)
– Dec. 12, 2018 @ 11:50 GMT /