© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is seen at an African Union leaders summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the chief judge to free prison inmates who have been awaiting trial for six years or more to ease overcrowding as the novel coronavirus spreads, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
A statement quoted Buhari as saying 42% of Nigeria’s 74,000 or so prisoners were awaiting trial. He urged Chief Judge Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad to reduce that number “since physical distancing and self-isolation in such conditions are practically impossible”.
Buhari said inmates with no confirmed criminal cases against them, elderly prisoners and those who were terminally ill could be discharged.
“Most of these custodial centres are presently housing inmates beyond their capacities and the overcrowded facilities pose a potent threat to the health of the…