The Federal Government has disclosed plans to release 4, 068 inmates nationwide as part of measures to decongest the nation’s correctional centres.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony in Abuja, the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo said that the programme is targeted at indigent inmates who cannot afford to pay their fines.
He said the Federal Government has raised N585 million to be used for the payment of fines to secure the release of 4, 068 inmates across the federation.
According to the minister, the money was raised by corporate bodies and philanthropists for this purpose.
“Today, we flag off the release of about 4, 068 inmates. This is in a bid to decongest custodial centres as well as make them ready for proper reformation and rehabilitation to take place,” the minister said.
The minister said the initiative was targeted at inmates with fines and compensation that do not exceed N1m, stressing 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.
Commending the Nigerian Correctional Service for their dedication towards humane custody and national security, he said the Ministry of Interior would further collaborate with the Ministry of Justice to tackle the swelling number of awaiting trial inmates in various detention facilities in the country.
In attendance at the meeting were Ministers of Justice and heads of anti-corruption agencies from all the countries within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
On his part, the Controller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa, commended the minister for the initiative.