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Nigerian govt commences decongestion of correctional facilities



In an effort to free up prison space nationwide, the Federal Government said on Thursday that it had received N585 million to pay prisoner penalties.

The Minister of the Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo revealed this information on Thursday in Kano at the time of the release of 150 prisoners whose fines had been paid by the Federal Government.

He was represented by an Assistant Director in the Ministry, Dr. Anayo Romanus-Nzekwe.

The interior minister had bemoaned on several occasions that over 4,000 prisoners were being held without being able to pay fines.

Tunji-Ojo had pledged that the Federal Government will release the prisoners and pay the fines, which were projected to be around N500 million.

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On Thursday, 150 inmates were freed from the Maximum Security Custodial Centre, Janguza in Kano State.

The minister, speaking through Romanus-Nzekwe, said the 150 inmates were among the 4,068 nationwide that the government intended to free in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

“The Federal Government wants to decongest custodial centres and make them humane for proper reformation and rehabilitation of offenders to take place.

“The released inmates were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment with the option of fine and compensation and could not afford to pay their fines and are languishing in custody.

“The sum of N13.4m was spent in Kano State out of the N585m raised by philanthropic individuals, groups and corporate bodies, as part of their corporate social responsibility, for this purpose nationwide.’’

He explained that all inmates in the custodial centres who have fines and compensation not exceeding N1m were qualified to benefit from the gesture.

“We have given the inmates requisite training aimed at impacting their lives functionally and equipping them with the knowledge and skills for their self-reliance upon discharge,” he added.

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