The intervention of the Adamawa Government has saved 21 women the ordeal of languishing in prison over their inability to repay the loans they obtained from some micro-finance banks in the state.
Maisaratu Bello, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, said in Yola on Thursday that the ministry had to immediately pay the loans for the women to regain their freedom.
Ms. Bello told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that 11 the women had been convicted and sentenced to various prison terms.
She said that the remaining 10 women were awaiting sentencing at the time of the ministry’s intervention, and expressed concern over the development.
The permanent secretary said that the ministry was shocked over the way the women were convicted.
“As part of activities to mark the International Women’s Day, we were in Yola prison to extend love and care to female inmates where we met with 21 female inmates.
“Eleven were already convicted, while 10 are awaiting trial over the non-payment of loans of about N60,000 collected from micro-finance houses,” Ms. Bello said.
She, however, said that, the ministry immediately paid the amount and demanded the release of the women without any condition.
Ms. Bello disclosed that most of the inmates told the ministry that it was the banks that lured them into obtaining the loans.
The permanent secretary accused the banks of abusing the women’s rights and warned that the ministry would no longer tolerate such behaviour in the future.