The Federal Government has said it will release more inmates just as the number of those discharged has increased to 3,955, as part of measures to decongest the custodial facilities and curb COVID-19 spread.
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, explained that the challenge of inmates’ accommodation was being addressed with the construction of 3,000-capacity custodial centres in Kano, Karshi, Abuja and Bori in Rivers State.
Speaking at the inauguration of 59 vehicles at the Nigerian Correctional Service headquarters, Abuja, on Tuesday, the minister also said that 32 satellite custodial centres previously shut down due to insurgency had been re-opened and rehabilitated while 14 new facilities and barracks had been constructed.
To ensure the well-being of the inmates, Aregbesola stated that the NCoS had recruited more medical and paramedical personnel into the service and procured adequate quantities of drugs and medicaments.
He pointed out that the service has contributed to agriculture and food production in the country through the reactivation of custodial farm centres for large scale agricultural production in piggery, fishing, cattle rearing and poultry in different parts of the country.
According to the minister, the three custodial farm centres include Kujama Farm in Kaduna State for maize; Lakushi Farm in Plateau State for rice and Ozalla Farm in Edo State for palm oil.
“We have also procured 25 new tractors, combined harvesters and relevant implements to enhance agricultural productivity in custodial farm centres. We have also begun the implementation of the correctional service rehabilitation plan and collaboration with relevant agencies to decongest the custodial centres.”
“When we started the programme two months ago, over 2,600 inmates were released from custody. This number has since increased to 3,955 as the process is ongoing and progressively, more inmates will exit our custodial centres,” he added.
The Controller-General, NCoS, Jafa’aru Ahmed, said more vehicles were needed to convey about 5,000 inmates to court every day.
He stated that graduate degree programmes have commenced, noting that about 649 inmates are running various degree and postgraduate programmes in the facilities.