Rauf Aregbesola, the Minister of Interior, has solicited for the cooperation of state governments to tackle congestion in custodial facilities across the country.
Aregbesola, who disclosed that the facilities were 22 per cent overcrowded above their capacity, made the call in Lagos on Saturday while inaugurating the Zone A office complex and the ICT hub provided for inmates of the medium custodial centre by a non-governmental organisation, Anchor Heritage Initiative.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Shuaib Belgore, the minister said facilities across the country currently had a population of 74,632 inmates whereas the facilities have the capacity for 57,278 inmates.
He said: “We will need the cooperation of state governments in addressing this challenge. The overwhelming majority of offenders are state offenders being tried by their respective state governments.
“One main challenge of the Correctional Service, therefore, is congestion of the custodial facilities. The entire national custodial facilities have a maximum capacity of 57,278 inmates, but at the last count earlier in the week, there is a total population of 74,632 inmates made up of 72,964 males and 1,668 females. We have therefore shot above the capacity by 22 per cent.
“The challenges of safe and effective custody at the Custodial Centres come therefore from the awaiting trial inmates, given their numerical strength. This fact greatly limits our capacity for corrections, since awaiting trial inmates being suspects, can only be accommodated and not reformed.”
Speaking at the event, the NCoS Comptroller General, Haliru Nababa, said the office complex would improve the working conditions of personnel for efficient service delivery.
Nababa also commended the NGO for the provision of the ICT hub, saying it would further upscale inmates’ training while reforming them into responsible and productive citizens.
“It will facilitate the smooth running of a National Open University of Nigeria Special Study Centre for desiring inmates to pursue their academic aspirations like their peers who are free citizens.
“It will provide an avenue for training inmates on hardware and software technology as well as create a platform for e-learning for members of staff and inmates alike”, he said.
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