FG, Stakeholders Partner to Decongest Prisons

By Starrys Obazei | April 12, 2023

The Federal Government has expressed its determination to partner with relevant stakeholders to decongest prison facilities in Nigeria.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, made the disclosure during a round-table conversation with Prisoner Rehabilitation And Welfare Action and representatives of donors today in Abuja.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Afonja Ajibola, on Wednesday.

Aregbesola said prisons in the country are highly congested with inmates awaiting trials, those on death rolls, those unable to pay debt and fines, and some on minor offenses.

According to the minister, the number of people in jail houses as first offenders is less than 20%.

He said: “Correctional service has no power over inmates. Whoever the Judiciary ask them to keep, they keep.

“Our role is for the safe custody of the inmates and also to advise the government.”

While appreciating the stakeholders for their support, Aregbesola implored them to collaborate with the Federal Government by contributing not only financially but technically and intellectually in order to decongest the custodial centers.

He said most of the inmates currently in custody are inmates, who committed state offenses that the President has no right to release, revealing that the President has approved a bill that moves correctional service to the concurrent list.

The Controller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Halliru Nababa, said that the number of inmates in prisons all over the country is far above the number of facilities available.

Nababa, who was represented by the DCG, Amad Tukur, disclosed that the custodial facility in Port Harcourt which is supposed to accommodate 800 inmates presently has over 4,000 inmates, adding that Correctional Service is ready and will appreciate any support to help decongest the custodial centers.

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