President Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned a 3,000-Capacity Ultra-Modern Custodial Centre In a bid to fulfil the Federal Government’s promise of delivering the dividends of democracy and good governance to all Nigerians.
Speaking at the unveiling of the massive project in Janguza, Kano State, on Friday, 26th May, 2023, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, noted that the auspicious ceremony confirms President Buhari’s capacity to transform the critical component of criminal justice administration with the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) as a prime beneficiary.
“Indeed, this ceremony further confirms Mr. President’s capacity and tenacity to rewrite the history of justice administration in Nigeria, through total transformation of the critical component of criminal justice administration with the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) as a prime beneficiary.
“No doubt, one hallmark of democracy is a viable justice system capable of securing the interest of all citizens, irrespective of tribe, religion, social status, gender or political affiliation.
The Minister said that in a bid to reform, rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders into society as responsible persons, the Federal Government has continued to pay keen attention to those incarcerated, as well as their care givers with security as a cardinal focus of the Buhari-led administration.
Maintaining that the Ultra-Modern facility will provide a huge relief to the Correctional Service as far as overcrowding of inmates is concerned, Aregbesola further said that the project is intended to solve the problem of over-crowding, especially in the custodial centres located in urban areas.
“The idea of a model high-capacity custodial centre of this magnitude was muted and approved for the six geo-political regions of the country, in the first tenure of this administration. It was basically to address the serious infrastructure deficit the Service has had to grapple with.
“With most of the buildings now old, weak and dilapidated, the atmosphere around the custodial facilities is quite dispiriting. Moreso, bearing in mind the capacity of some of the inmates for mischief, the risk posed by the pre-existing conditions of our holding facilities was grave.
“Secondly, this humongous project is also intended to solve the problem of over-crowding, especially in the custodial centres located in urban areas. With a current total carrying capacity of 56,663, the service has in its custody, over 75,000 inmates, thus overstretching the existing infrastructure.
Furthermore, the structuring and unique architecture of this facility will enhance both the procedural and physical security components desirous of a holding facility”
The Interior Minister highlighted the component structures embedded in the Custodial Centre to include; “a Maximum-Security Custodial Centre, Medium-Security Custodial Centre, recreational facilities, workshops, religious worship centres, five courtrooms, a hospital and much more.
According to him, these component structures were deliberately captured in the original design, to address the peculiarities of different categories of inmates and the care they require.
“The courts especially will permanently solve the problems associated with transporting inmates to regular courts, especially the challenges of security and availability of judges.
Aregbesola who lamented that it cost the Federal Government over one million naira per annum to maintain an inmate, called on State Governments to collaborate with the Federal Government in ensuring a smooth transition occasioned by the recent amendment in the NCoS’ Constitution to allow states run their own correctional services.
“It is important to note that the Federal Government had over the years solely shouldered the responsibility of catering for all categories of inmates, over 85 per cent of whom are state offenders and predominantly indigenes of the state where these custodial centres are located. It costs slightly over one million naira to maintain an inmate per annum.
“I will once again admonish the state governments to reform their criminal justice system and expedite the trial of suspects, in order to avoid long detention periods, which makes the custodial facilities to be disproportionately swamped by 75 percent of awaiting trial inmates.
He however noted that the interventions of President Muhammadu Buhari in the Nigeria Correctional Service will be greatly remembered.
“To our outstanding President, we remain grateful for your generous support and commitment to revamping public institutions to function optimally. He has supported this project by providing the funds needed and in every other way. I must say also that he has supported the five other mega custodial facilities where work is ongoing. You have written your name in gold, in the annals of our history and will be greatly remembered for transforming the Correctional Service to an enviable height.
“This ceremony, I daresay, is a wonderful parting gift to Nigerians. I have great optimism that the incoming administration will build on your legacies and sustain the positive trajectory of your stewardship. I proudly identify with you and what you stand for, which has brought numerous gains to our country” He added.
The Interior Minister who commended the CG Corrections, Haliru Nababa, for his diligence, innovation and commitment to the task of transforming the service, seized the opportunity to call on all officers and men of the NCoS to stay alive to their responsibilities as security is a key component of every responsible government.
“This huge investment of government must be put to the best and most professional use, to translate to democratic dividends” He maintained.
He also called on individuals and corporate organisations to participate in the provision of infrastructure, in order to assist in reducing the burden on the government, assuring that the government will however continue to provide infrastructure in needed areas for the citizens.
Present at the ceremony was the Emir of Bichi, represented by Isiyaku Wada Waziri, Sarkin Bai, Emir of Karaye, represented by Alhaji Auwalu Magajin Rafi, Emir of Gaya, represented by Alhaji Bashir Dadu, Bauran Gaya and the Comptroller General, Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa, amongst others.