Home News FG grants freedom to 11 inmates from Enugu correctional centre

FG grants freedom to 11 inmates from Enugu correctional centre

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No fewer than 11 inmates of the Enugu Correctional Centre have been released under the federal government prison decongestion programme.

The inmates were drawn from the Enugu, Nsukka as well as Oji River and Ibite-Olo custodial centres.

The inmates were handed over to the Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, who was in Enugu yesterday, for their official release to their families and society.

Earlier, the Ministry of Interior flagged off the release of 4,068 inmates sentenced to various terms of imprisonment with the option of fine and compensation in custodial centres nationwide.

Speaking during the ceremony at the Enugu Maximum Correctional Centre, the minister said the gesture was part of measures to decongest custodial centres and make them humane for proper reformation and rehabilitation to take place.

He disclosed that as at November 2023, there were about 80,804 inmates in 253 custodial facilities nationwide, whose total installed capacity was less than 50,000 inmates.

Dr. Tunji-Ojo acknowledged that the alarming figures show that Nigeria’s custodial facilities are over-crowded, necessitating the initiative targeted towards addressing the overcrowding conundrum bedevilling Custodial Centres and their reformatory function.

The minister said that most of the inmates at the verge of regaining their freedom were indigents who could not afford to pay their fines and were languishing in custody.

He disclosed that philanthropic individuals, groups and corporate bodies raised the sum of Five Hundred and Eighty-five Million Naira only (N585,000,000.00) for their release as part of their corporate social responsibility.

The minister advised the released inmates to stay off crime and criminality.

He also charged their immediate families and the society not to stigmatise them.

“Hence, all inmates in Custodial Centres who have fines and/or compensation not exceeding One Million Naira only (N1,000,000.00) are qualified, and would benefit from this gesture.

“In addition, we are also providing each of them a stipend to enable them to return to their communities.

“Suffice it to mention at this point that we are not just releasing them to their fate; we have given them requisite training aimed at impacting their lives functionally and equipping them with the knowledge for their self-reliance upon discharge.

“The training also covers their civic duties and responsibilities as citizens and strategies of refraining from reoffending.

“In line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s mantra of Renewed Hope, the benefitting inmates have been given a second opportunity to get back to track and contribute to the ongoing development of our dear nation.

“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its custodial facilities. It is based on this premise that this administration is poised to transform custodial and non-custodial facilities to ensure compliance with international human rights standards and good correctional practices.

“To the benefitting inmates, I implore you to see this as a second chance to make things right again. You are therefore advised to stay off crime and criminality, and all join hands with our father, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, to make Nigeria a great nation.

“Abide by the instructions and training you have received while in custody and be good ambassadors in your communities.

“I hereby flag off the release of 4,068 inmates with option of fine and compensation nationwide to the glory of God”, he said.

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