Ahead of 2016 Sallah celebration, 40 inmates of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS), located in Suleja, Niger State, on Monday, regained their freedom courtesy the National Commandant, Peace Corps of Nigeria, Ambassador Dickson Akoh.
The inmates, who were of between ages 18 and 30, were released to Ambassador Akoh by the Comptroller of the Prisons, Mr Ibrahim Usman, after their various fines were duly paid by the corps as part of the activities marking its 18th anniversary.
After perfecting the immediate release of the inmates made up of 38 males and two females, Akoh gave them various sums of money as their transport fare to their various destinations.
This came just as Ambassador Akoh, who was in company of some of the officers of the corps to the Prisons, donated a cow and other food stuff to other inmates of the Prisons for its management to prepare special meal for them during Sallah.
He told the Prisons officials that the corps was not only interested in setting them free but would document them for proper reformation since one of the aims and objectives of the organisation is youth development.
He called on the Federal Government to see to the review of administration of criminal justice in Nigeria, saying, “it is very wrong in a society where somebody who steals a material worth less than N10,000 will be sentenced to several years in prison while another who steals billions of naira, will just be fined or set fee on technical grounds”.
Akoh, while assuring that the corps would do everything humanly possible to reform the freed inmates, warned them to be of good behaviour.
He said that the corps decided to donate the cow and the food stuff to the inmates so as to celebrate the Sallah in good mood and to make them have a sense of belonging as Nigerians.
In his remarks, the prison boss lauded the gesture of the corps and pleaded with individuals and corporate organisations to emulate the Peace Corps
However, some of the freed inmates, including a female, said that they were not criminals but picked up while at night clubs and subsequently, fined and brought to the prisons when they could not afford the fines imposed on them.