In a significant move to address the plight of inmates trapped in detention due to financial constraints, the Federal Government announced on Thursday that it had successfully raised N585 million. This financial aid aims to settle fines, a crucial step in the broader initiative to decongest correctional centers across the nation.
The revelation was made by the Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, during a ceremony in Kano where 150 inmates were released, marking a tangible step toward the promised liberation of approximately 4,000 individuals nationwide. Dr. Tunji-Ojo reiterated the government’s commitment to clearing fines, estimated at about N500 million, to secure the freedom of those detained.
The released inmates, sentenced to various terms with fines they couldn’t afford, were part of the nationwide effort aligned with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda. The Federal Government’s endeavor to decongest custodial centers emphasizes the humane treatment and rehabilitation of offenders.
A total of N13.4 million was spent in Kano State alone, sourced from philanthropic individuals, groups, and corporate bodies demonstrating their corporate social responsibility. Dr. Tunji-Ojo emphasized that inmates with fines and compensation not exceeding N1 million were eligible to benefit from this gesture.
The freed individuals were not only given a second chance at life outside the custodial walls but were also provided with N10,000 each to aid their return to their homes and villages. The minister urged the public to embrace these returning citizens, discouraging any form of stigmatization that could potentially lead them back into criminal activities.
In closing, the Controller-General of Corrections, Mr. Halliru Nababa, expressed gratitude for the minister’s efforts in securing the release of 150 inmates, acknowledging the positive impact on lives across the nation. Simultaneously, in Gombe State, the Chief Judge, Justice Halima Mohammed, pardoned and freed 185 inmates across five custodial facilities, further emphasizing the nationwide push for criminal justice reform.