The Tedious Job Of Decongesting Nigerian Correctional Centres

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T he federal government policy and provisions therein that contains the change of inmates abode from prison yards to correctional centres though commendable, lacks infrastructural backing.

The immediate past minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola raised the alarm over the numbers of condemned inmates accommodated in the facilities.

Though he made efforts to decongest and improve the welfare of inmates, he felt uncomfortable with the refusal of governors to sign death warrant for the execution of condemned inmates thereby increasing congestion.


Besides, investigation revealed that sixty per cent of people in custody of correctional centres across the country, are either awaiting trial or under prosecution.

Recently in Osun State, in his bid to decongest the correctional facilities in the state, Governor Ademola Adeleke directed the state attorney general and commissioner for Justice, Honourable Jimi Bada to visit the correctional centres and come up with recommendations.

Accompanied by the solicitor general and permanent secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Adekemi Bello and other management staff of the ministry, Bada was received at Ilesa correctional centre by the controller of the State Correctional Service, Mr. Tolu Ogunsakin.

Ogunsakin presented the record of the inmates in the Ilesa facility to the attorney general and his team after guding them round the facility.

Ogunsakin noted that Ilesa correctional centre is currently overcrowded saying that the facility has the capacity of 586 inmates, but it is currently accommodating 766 inmates.

Also at Ile-Ife, Correctional Centre, the Comptroller, DCP Olorunfemi Obembe disclosed that the facility building capacity is 160 inmates, but currently having 346 inmates. Meanwhile, just 44 inmates were convicted while 302 inmates are awaiting trial.

The attorney general expressed worry that the prisons had remained congested owing to a huge number of inmates that are awaiting trial.

While appreciating the team, Ogunsakin called on other public office holders and philanthropists to emulate the good gesture of the commissioner for Justice who paid off fine of one hundred and fifty thousand Naira (#150,000) levelled against one underaged inmates.

He also urged the public to adopt plea bargain option, saying that it is a modern way to decongest the prison.

But, a human rights crusader in Osun, Comrade Waheed Lawal noted that Nigeria correctional centres don't have the facilities that would serve correction purpose.

He argued that inmates that are not living in a conducive environment cannot function optimally under correction, adding that unless facilities that can give room to corrections are provided, it is better to revert to prison that appears appropriate now considering the facilities on ground.

Also speaking, a cleric, Pastor Lawrence Agbesanya observed that government is not taking cognisance the population explosion in the country, saying that the same provision made for inmates years back when the population was not as huge as now are still being maintained.

He recommended the building of more facilities to accommodate larger numbers of people just as he noted that if more institutions of learning are being established to accommodate students seeking admission to schools, there is nothing stopping government from establishing more correctional centres.



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