The federal government is seeking the cooperation of state governments in addressing the challenges of congestion in custodial facilities across the country.
According to a statement by Sola Fasure, the Media Adviser to the Minister of Interior, the Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, stated this at the commissioning of the Osun State Command office complex of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Osogbo on Friday.
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Aregbesola, in his address, stated that; “the entire national custodial facilities have a maximum capacity for 57,278 inmates. But by the last count earlier in the week, there is a total population of 68,747 inmates, made up of 67,422 males and 1,325 females.
“We have, therefore, shot above the capacity by 18 per cent.”
He informed that 50,992 inmates, representing 74 per cent of the total population of inmates in the custodial centres were awaiting trial inmates while only 17,755 inmates which is 26 per cent are actual convicts.
According to him, this has brought to the fore the limitations in the effective management of the criminal justice administration and therefore urged state governments to work with the federal government in addressing this challenge as an overwhelming majority of inmates in custody were state offenders being tried by their respective state governments.
Aregbesola, who espoused on the various measures undertaken by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari aimed at decongesting custodial facilities urged State Governments to: “Accelerate the wheel of justice as a lot of inmates have been in custody for a period longer than the maximum sentence their alleged offences carry.
“Share in the burden of decongesting custodial facilities by building modern holding centres, setting aside a sum for the maintenance of inmates, while the service will provide the personnel to man and run the facilities efficiently.
“State governors to summon the will to do the needful on death row convicts and bring closure to their cases; set some others free on compassionate ground, especially those who have grown old on account of a long time in custody, those who are terminally ill and those who have been reformed and demonstrated exceptionally good behaviour; and commute others’ sentences to life or a specific terms in jail.”
He said that there were 3,008 condemned criminals consisting of 2,952 males and 56 females.