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Nigerian Prison Congested – FG

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The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Interior, has sought the cooperation of state governments in dealing with the challenges of prison congestion.

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The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, made the call while commissioning the Osun State Command office complex of the Nigerian Correctional Service, in Osogbo on Friday.

As part of recommendation from the Federal Government, the state governors were charged to summon the will to do the needful on death row convicts to curtail the overpopulation in custodial facilities.

“There are presently 3,008 condemned criminals waiting for their date with the executioners in our meagre custodial facilities.” Aregbesola asserted.

The minister disclosed that the entire national custodial facilities have maximum capacity for 57,278 inmates, but the current count, a total population of 68,747 inmates, made up of 67,422 males and 1,325 females inmates are housed across the country which is above the capacity by 18 per cent.

“But I must add that the congestion is an urban phenomenon limited to big cities like Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and others. There are facilities in non-urban areas that are underpopulated.

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“It is in the urban areas that most of the crimes are committed and relevant courts are located, leading to the overstretching of the custodial facilities located in such cities.” Aregbesola noted.

Giving the clear status of inmates in the correctional centres across the country, Aregbsola noted that 50,992 inmates, representing 74 per cent of the total population of inmates in are awaiting trial, while only 17,755 inmates which is mere 26 per cent are actual convicts.

“The challenges of safe and effective custody at the custodial centres come therefore from the awaiting trial inmates, given their numerical strength.

The Minister, However, asked for the cooperation of state governments in addressing custodial centre congestion challenge saying, the overwhelming majority of offenders are state offenders being tried by their respective State Governments.

“The State Governments can therefore do three things. The first is to accelerate the wheel of justice. The second way the states can share in the burden of decongesting custodial facilities is to join in building holding centres.

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“The third way is for State Governors to summon the will to do the needful on death row convicts. There are presently 3,008 condemned criminals waiting for their date with the executioners in our meagre custodial facilities.” he concluded.

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