Prof. Ishaq Akintola, Director, MURIC

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has commended the announcement by the President Muhammadu Buhari government that it would release some set of prisoners, in order to fight coronavirus pandemic currently ravaging the world.
Those excluded are inmates serving jail terms for capital offences such as murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, rape, treason among others.
MURIC Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, in a statement on Saturday, said the inmates were human beings and had fundamental human rights.
“They have the right to live, except those that have been condemned to death. Therefore the Nigerian government has no moral right to keep them in correctional centers where they are gravely exposed to coronavirus”, he noted.

“We all know what is happening around the world today regarding the devastating power of this virus. It is killing people in their thousands on a daily basis. We also know the poor state of our correctional centres.
“There are 54 Nigerian soldiers serving a ten-year sentence. They were ordered to confront Boko Haram fighters armed to the teeth. But our soldiers had very poor weapons. Their death sentence was later commuted to ten years in jail. Yet it was their demand for better weapons which exposed the $2.1 billion armsgate,” he said.
MURIC urge governors and chief judges to visit correctional centres and release inmates in large numbers before the number of infections explode.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to exercise his prerogative of mercy to free all Nigerian prisoners except those on death row. Nigeria has 74,927 inmates in 244 centres.
“Already, 19 prisoners in 10 prisons have tested positive in British jails. We do not know exactly if the virus is already in our jails. Nigeria must emulate other countries of the world which have taken proactive measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 by decongesting their prisons,” he stated.

MURIC added that if Poland can free 12,000 inmates, Nigeria should do the same before it’s too late.

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