The UK Government said on Friday that it was awaiting the Presidential assent on the Prisoners Transfer Agreement (PTA) between it and Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the agreement will enable Nigerian prisoners in the UK to serve their terms in the country.
The new British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Andrew Pocock, dropped the hint while answering questions from NAN on update of the agreement in his residence in Abuja.
"The British prisoners transfer Agreement (PTA) is very important to both countries; it has gone through the National Assembly and legislation to enable it," he said.
"The next stage is the presidential assent; then we will enter into a bilateral agreement, which will allow the prisoners from both countries to serve their terms in their own countries near their families," the envoy said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro, said the prisoners' exchange policy signed with UK and other world countries was not effective as a result of some factors.
He listed such factors to include the domestic laws in those countries opposing forceful repatriation, the issue of prisoners' consent, unwillingness of Nigerian prisoners abroad to serve in prisons at home and the obsolete 1963 Prisons Act.
According to the Minister, Nigeria has bilateral agreements with the UK and other European Union (EU) governments one of which is the transfer of some prisoners to Nigeria to serve out their terms.
It also includes that the foreign prisoners will be sent back to their respective countries.
Moro, said, however, that there were obvious clauses from the domestic laws of these countries (EU) which made it difficult for the exchange programme to be effectively applied and allow those prisoners to return home.
He said: "On the part of Nigeria also is the issue of prisoners' consent whereby the prisoners' are required to agree and give their consent before they can be successfully transferred back home.
"But the most important factor that is inimical to the recent prisons reforms is the 1963 Prisons Act, which has been sent to the National Assembly for amendment.
"The process has gone a long way and has gone through the second reading and we believe that if this Act is repealed it will go a long way to bring the positive changes we desire."
Moro said, "Nigeria has no objection to the prisoners coming back home, but it must be on mutual agreement with the other countries."
NAN reports that nearly 571 Nigerian prisoners in UK prisons will be eligible for the transfer when the amendment is passed into law.
To pave the ground for the prisoners' return to their home countries, the UK government established a three million pound annual fund to rehabilitate prisons in such countries, including Nigeria. (NAN)