Feeding, accomodation of inmates now responsibility of state governors — Aregbesola

Feeding, accomodation of inmates now responsibility of state governors — Aregbesola

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has stated that state governors will henceforth begin to provide feeding and accommodation to inmates in their states.

Speaking at a 2-day High-Level Conference on Decongestion and Corrections Management held in Abuja, Aregbesola said the federal government would no longer bear such burdens.

He maintained that “with the amendment to the constitution in this regard, states are now empowered to build correctional centres and facilities to house offenders, who are convicted and sentenced for committing state offences. Where states are unable to build custodial centres, it is believed that they can suggest ways to collaborate with the federal government in feeding and housing these state offenders.”

“Overcrowding in the custodial centres has led to a huge revenue drain for the federal government, being the only party shouldering the responsibility of running and maintaining the custodial centres. The FG can’t bear this anymore. I am going to leave strict recomnendations to my successor on that law. We would rather use the money meant for feeding inmates to improve our facilities,” he added.

Aregbesola stated that states which do not have correctional facilities would have to pay the FG for the feeding and accommodation of their inmates.

He unveiled that currently, the FG spends over N22 billion to feed inmates across 244 correctional facilities in the country. The minister said this is draining the FG’s revenue.

He also revealed that 4,067 inmates are in custody for being unable to pay fines of N1 million and below.

In separate development, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, said the incessant jailbreaks experienced in the country was due congestion of custodial centres.

He is of the opinion that “unnecessary congestion of prisons has led to jailbreaks and of course, overstretching the dilapidated custodial centres built 100 years ago…In order to enthrone a seamless dispensation of justice, the issue of congestion and reform has always occupied the front burner of discussion since the advent of this democratic dispensation and we have been waiting with bated breath to see the reform truly happen in our lifetime.”

Justice Ariwolola urged judges to interpret the law accurately and also visit detention centers to release prisoners who have committed minor offenses or who are being wrongfully prosecuted.

He suggested that “the law should be interpreted the way it should be and must be done with the fear of the almighty God.

Our visit to the custodial centres should also be increased with a view to setting free those inmates with minor offences and those that ought not to be there in the first place.”

“I passionately appeal to judicial officers and those directly and remotely connected to the administration of the justice chain in the country to distance themselves from primordial sentiment and disposition,” he proposed.


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