The Federal Government (FG) will be constructing three new custodial centres (prisons) with 3,000 capacity to ease congestion in correctional homes in the country.
The Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, made this known on Friday at the inauguration of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Osun State Command Headquarters Complex, in Osogbo.
Aregbesola said the new custodial facilities (prisons) would be cited in Karchi in Abuja, Kano, and Bori in Rivers.
According to the minister, each of the facilities will have courts for the trial of inmates.
He said the Federal Government’s plan was to extend the construction of such capacity custodial centres to the six
geopolitical zones in the country.
The minister disclosed that the custodial project in Kano was near completion.
Aregbesola said when the custodial projects were completed, they would help to ease congestion considerably and enhance the capacity to manage facilities for corrections of inmates.
The minister explained that the national custodial centres (prisons) currently had the capacity to accommodate 57,278 inmates.
“But as of the last count, earlier in the week, there is a total population of 68,747 inmates, indicating an overpopulation capacity of 18 per cent,” he said.
He said the government had been addressing the challenges of congestion. The minister noted that at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministries of Interior and Justice initiated a presidential pardon and amnesty programme for inmates.
According to him, some federal offenders benefited from the programme and got reprieve, while the state governments got recommendations and guidelines for the release of their own convicts.
Aregbesola said that over 5,000 inmates had so far been released under the programme. Also speaking, Mr Haliru Nababa, the Controller General of Corrections, Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS), commended President Muhammadu Buhari for extending his magnanimity to the NCoS, regarding budgetary allocation.
Nababa said there had been significant improvement in infrastructural intervention with several projects undertaken and completed for use between 2015 till date. He thanked the Interior Minister for his pragmatic leadership and support that had greatly encouraged the NCoS to thrive beyond expectations.
Nababa assured the government that the service would justify the huge investments put in place saying that officers would put in their utmost best in discharging their statutory duties.