Prison decongestion: FG releases 4,068 inmates nationwide
As N585m fines, compensations paid
By Clement Idoko |
The Federal Government has flagged off the release of 4,068 inmates sentenced to various terms of imprisonment with the option of a fine and compensation in custodial centres nationwide.
Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, who performed the symbolic release of the inmates at the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje, Abuja, on Saturday, said this was in a bid to decongest custodial centres across the country and make them humane for proper reformation and rehabilitation of offenders to take place.
He lamented that as of Friday, November 17, 2023, there were about 80,804 inmates in 253 custodial facilities nationwide, and the total installed capacity for the 253 custodial centres adds up to less than 50,000.
Tunji-Ojo called for reform in the criminal justice administration to allow for speedy dispensation of justice, pointing out that a large number of inmates in custodial centres are awaiting trial.
According to him, the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje, where 37 of the beneficiary inmates were released, has the installed capacity to hold 560 inmates, but currently, a total of 730 inmates are being held in the Custodial Centre. He added that out of the 730 inmates, 565 of them are awaiting trial.
“This shows that our custodial facilities are overcrowded, necessitating this initiative we are flagging off today, which is targeted towards addressing the overcrowding conundrum bedevilling our custodial centres and their reformatory functions.
“Today, we flag off the release of a total of 4,068 inmates who are serving different terms of imprisonment in lieu of fines and/or compensation,” he stated.
Tunji-Ojo explained that most of the inmates being granted freedom are indigents who could not afford to pay their fines and have been languishing in custody.