In a bid to decongest Nigerian custodial Centres and address the overcrowded conditions, the Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has launched the release of 4,068 inmates who have completed various terms of imprisonment with the option of a fine or compensation. The initiative, aimed at inmates with fines and compensation not exceeding N1 million, was announced during an event at the Medium Security Custodial Centre in Kuje, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Minister Tunji-Ojo highlighted the overcrowded facilities, stating that they currently house approximately 80,804 inmates, surpassing their installed capacity of no fewer than 50,000. The release targets indigent inmates who are unable to settle their fines, providing them with a second chance at freedom.
During the event, Tunji-Ojo expressed gratitude for the philanthropic support from individuals, groups, and corporate bodies, which raised a total of N580 million for the initiative. He emphasized that the release is not only about freeing individuals but also empowering them for successful reintegration into society.
The minister explained, “The inmates received comprehensive training covering practical skills, civic duties, and strategies to prevent recidivism, ensuring a more promising future upon their return to their communities.” The government’s commitment to transforming custodial and non-custodial facilities aligns with international human rights standards and effective correctional practices, in accordance with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s vision.
Tunji-Ojo commended the Nigerian Correctional Service for its dedication to humane custody and national security. The strategic intervention aims to address the challenges of overcrowded custodial facilities while providing inmates with the necessary tools for a successful reintegration into society.