As part of efforts to decongest the Nigerian Custodial Centres, the Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has initiated the release of 4,068 inmates who have served various terms of imprisonment with an option of fine or compensation.
Speaking during an event which was held at the Medium Security Custodial Centre in Kuje, Federal Capital Territory in Abuja, the minister noted that the initiative was targeted at inmates with fines and compensation that do not exceed N1m.
Tunji-Ojo added that the facilities which had an “installed capacity of no fewer than 50,000” currently hold “approximately 80,804 inmates, significantly surpassing their limits and prompting this strategic intervention.”
He stated, “This release, targeting inmates with fines and/or compensations not exceeding N1m, extends a lifeline primarily to indigents unable to settle their dues, allowing them a second chance at freedom.
“Philanthropic individuals, groups, and corporate bodies rallied together, raising a total of N580m for this noble cause. Moreover, it’s not just about freeing these individuals but empowering them for a successful reintegration into society.
“The inmates received comprehensive training covering practical skills, civic duties, and strategies to prevent recidivism, ensuring a more promising future upon their return to their communities.”
Tunji-Ojo explained that the government’s commitment to transform custodial and non-custodial facilities was initiated to align with international human rights standards and effective correctional practices, and was in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s vision.
He further commended the Nigerian Correctional Service for their dedication towards humane custody and national security.