Ikechukwu Nnochiri – Abuja

The Presidential Committee on Correctional Services Reform and Decongestion has released 19 inmates from the Kuje Correctional Centre.

The Committee which is headed by the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, said the freedom granted the inmates was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration resolve to decongest custodial centers across the federation.

Justice Bello, who led members of the presidential committee, magistrates and other stakeholders to the Kuje Correctional centre on Friday, said the exercise was in line with the provisions of the Correctional Services Act.

He said: “Today’s visit to Kuje Correctional Service is in furtherance of the Federal Government’s efforts to decongest detention centres across the country.

“This becomes more imperative with the coming into force of the new Nigerian Correctional Service Act.

“This exercise is purely borne out of the desire of criminal justice stakeholders to find ways of decongesting detention facilities across the country by inquiring into cases of inmates with a view to letting go those who have no reasons to stay in such facilities.”

He, therefore, implored all the critical stakeholders in the criminal justice sector to collaborate with the government in carrying out the mandate of decongesting detention centres in Nigeria.

The CJ added: “It is a world of interdependence; all stakeholders must depend on each other for smooth adjudications. Anyone who fails to execute his or her mandate, it rubs off on other stakeholders negatively.

“Consequently, I urge us all to take our duties seriously for this is a national assignment that must succeed.”

He disclosed that a permanent database would be created to document details of the released inmates with their photographs.

He said the documentation would enable the Federal Government to track them.

Justice Bello, however, urged security operatives in the country to be civil in the discharge of their duties by ensuring that suspects were not detained beyond the statutory period as prescribed by the law.



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