Aregbesola proposes Decongestion of Correctional Centers
Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, has written to the Nigerian Governors Forum to request a meeting in order to decongest jails around the country.
The Minister’s Media Adviser, Sola Fasure, made this known to newsmen on Tuesday.
In exactly one month, Aregbesola stated he would meet with state governors to agree on the mass release of at least 30 per cent of convicts from correctional facilities across the country.
The minister said that the interface was necessary as more than 90 per cent of the inmates were being held for contravening various state laws, noting that over 70 per cent of the 75,635 inmates at present were awaiting trial.
He said that the federal offenders in the system were far fewer than 10 per cent, adding that the bulk of people in custody were those who had run afoul of state laws.
Aregbesola said that they were therefore being kept under the legal jurisdiction of their respective states.
The minister added that the decongestion of the 253 custodial centres nationwide was necessary as some of the inmates have no reason to remain in custody.
However, speaking on the action taken by the minister, Fasure said, “The minister has written to the Governors Forum, but he has not met with them because they will have to communicate with him and give him a date.
“He wrote to them with the request that he wants to meet with them, but he is yet to get a response. In other words, the meeting has not been held.”
In the meantime, the Federal Government on Tuesday revealed that over 12,000 inmates were released from various correctional centres across the country within the last six years in line with the policy of prison decongestion.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, stated this to members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters during the 2023 budget defence session with the committee.
Malami, who made the declaration in response to a question from Senator Ajibola Basiru representing Osun Central, said the Federal Government was able to decongest prisons across the country through policy actions aside from the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, meant for expeditious dispensation of Justice.
Punch/ Oluwayemisi Owonikoko