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CJN Orders Speedy Trial Of Cases, Decongestion Of Custodial Centres

A file picture of the CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad.



The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has ordered the heads of varied courts to right away velocity up the trial of circumstances and decongestion of custodial centres within the nation.

In an announcement personally signed by him on Friday, he stated there was a must take the pressing measures in view of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Justice Muhammad, who can be the Chairman of the Nationwide Judicial Council, defined that the United Nations had known as for the discount of the inhabitants of jail inmates to assist bodily distancing in such services.

Based on him, information present that Nigeria has about 74,127 inmates at varied custodial centres and 52,226 are Awaiting Trial Individuals (ATPs).

The CJN was fearful that a lot of the centres have been housing inmates past their capacities and the congested services have been dangerous to the well being of the inmates.

He, subsequently, directed the heads of courts to urgently go to all custodial and correctional centres inside their jurisdictions to establish and launch deserving inmates, the place that has not been performed already.

Justice Muhammad beneficial the conditional and unconditional launch, in addition to fee of fines of awaiting trial individuals relying on the classes they fall inside.

He additionally requested the justices to ahead a report of their visits to him for compilation and onward transmission to the related authorities.

Learn the total assertion by the CJN beneath:


Ref. No. NJC/CIR/HOC/II/662  15th Could 2020

To: All Chief Judges,

States Judiciaries and FCT.


I want to draw Your Lordships consideration to the necessity to take pressing measures in the direction of the speedy trial of circumstances and decongestion of custodial centres within the nation in view of COVID-19 Pandemic.

Not too long ago, the United Nations known as on international locations of the World to consciously scale back the inhabitants of jail inmates since bodily distancing and self-isolation in such situations are virtually unattainable.

From out there information, the inmates’ inhabitants at varied custodial centres throughout the nation presently stands at about 74,127 out of which 52,226 are Awaiting Trial Individuals (ATPs).

Most of those custodial centres are presently housing inmates past their capacities and the overcrowded services pose a potent menace to the well being of the inmates and the general public usually in view of the current circumstances, therefore the necessity for pressing steps to deliver the scenario below management.

Contemplating the above, it has develop into crucial for Your Lordships to embark on a right away go to to all custodial/correctional centres inside your respective States to establish and launch deserving inmates, the place that has not been performed already.

Throughout the requested go to, the Chief Judges are enjoined to contemplate the conditional or unconditional launch of Awaiting Trial Individuals who’ve spent 6 years or extra in custody.

ATPs who don’t have any confirmed prison circumstances towards them, aged inmates and terminally in poor health could also be discharged.

It’s anticipated that exact consideration ought to be on the aged, these with well being points, low-risk offenders, these with no ample authorized foundation to stay in custody, inmates convicted for minor offences with or with out the choice of fines and inmates who’ve lower than three years time period left to serve having served a considerable time period of their service for offences that entice 5 years and above.

Fee of fines could also be made in favour of inmates convicted of lesser offences with the choice of effective, who’re in custody due to their incapacity to pay such fines.

The listing of deserving inmates as supplied by the Correctional Service Formations throughout the Nation with above standards is hereby hooked up on your steerage.

A report on the proposed visits is required to be forwarded to me for compilation and onward transmission to Presidential Committee on Correctional Service Reform and Decongestion Secretariat, Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja.

Lastly, there’s the necessity to make sure that Your Lordships direct decrease courts to adjust to necessities of the Administration of Prison Justice Act/regulation in issuing remand warrants in prison circumstances particularly in circumstances which aren’t inside their jurisdiction.

It will regulate the quantity of entry of Awaiting Trial Inmates into custodial centres.

Hon. Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad, CFR

Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman

Nationwide Judicial Council

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