Emmanuel Adams, Rebecca Ayuba Abuja, Nigeria
18th Nov, 2023.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has initiated a process of decongesting the correctional facilities across the Country in an intelligent way by paying a total sum of N585 million as fine to secure the release of 4000 inmates, Honourable Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, stated this while flagging off the Initiative at the Maximum Security Custodial Centre Kuje, Abuja, Nigeria.
The Hon. Minister in his speech is believed confident that the Initiative will promote the decongestion of the correctional facility and allay overdue detention of inmates due to lack of bail funds.
Tunji Ojo had at a time confirmed the Federal Government intended move to pay N500 Million as a bail fine for 4,000 inmates in custodial facilities whose bail term does not exceed N1Million, assured that the fines would be cleared and the inmates would be released in a month’s time. However, thirty seven inmates were released from Kuje Maximum Security Correctional Centre, Abuja.
In His word “It is with great pleasure that I stand with you today to flag off the release of 4,068 inmates sentenced to various terms of imprisonment with the option of fine and compensation in custodial status nationwide. This is in a bid to decongest custodial centres as well as make ready proper reformation and rehabilitation of offenders to take place.
“As of yesterday, the 17th of November 2023, there were about 8804 inmates in 253 custodial facilities nationwide with a total installed capacity of less than 50,000. It shows that our custodial centres are overcrowded, necessitating this initiative we are flagging off today,” he said.
“Most of the inmates are indigents who cannot afford to pay their fine languishing in custody. The total fund of N585 million was raised by cooperate bodies as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for this purpose.
The Minister, who affirmed that the released inmates have been given another opportunity to contribute to the development of Nigeria by the administration of President Bola Tinubu. “It is said no one truly knows a nation unless he or she visits a prison”.
While commending the efforts of the Correctional Centers Managers, Tunji-Ojo on display of their entrepreneurial and wealth creation prowess; Some shoes, Sanders soles and more reiterated that Correctional Centers are becoming Reformative Centers indeed, “all inmates in custodial centers who have fines or compensation not exceeding 1 million are qualified and will benefit from this gesture, we are also providing each of them a stipend to enable them to stand in their community,” Minister said.
The Hon. Minister also noted that in line with the President Bola Ahmed Renewed Hope Agenda mantra, government will not be funding the program by itself, but will be funded through a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative from private sector players and philanthropists nationwide.
The events was witnessed by the Acting Permanent Secretary, Dr. Peter Egbodo, CG Correctional Haliru Nababa, CG Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr. Abubakar Audi, CG Federal Fire Service Engineer Abdulganiyu Jaji.