*31,963 offenders handled through non-custodial measures
*As FG spends N51.6m to feed 68,901 inmates daily

By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja

The Nigeria Correctional Service NCoS said it was on the trail of over 3,000 inmates who were still at large having escaped during the various attacks on its custodial centres in the year 2021.

Several custodial centres from Oyo, Owerri to Jos and others were attacked by violent terror gangs in the last 12 months with thousands of inmates escaping their cells. However, the Service, in collaboration with sister agencies had rearrested many of those who initially escaped.

Spokesman of the Service, CC Francis Enobore disclosed this Friday in Abuja during the end of year briefing.

Flanked by the Principal Staff Officer PSO to the Controller General of Corrections, DC Mamman Salisu, the spokesperson also put the total inmate population at 69, 901 out of which 19, 667 were convicts and 49, 234 as awaiting trial.

“As of Monday December 27, 2021,  71 percent of inmates are awaiting trial, while 29 percent are convicted inmates. 68, 901 as total inmate population, 19, 667 are convicts, while 49, 234 are awaiting trial”, Enobore said.

He lauded the federal government for the increase in the cost of feeding inmates saying; “the approved cost of feeding in Custodial Centres is N750 per inmate per day, an increase from N450 per day”. The figure would translate to about N51,675,750 spent in feeding the entire inmate population daily.

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Speaking further, he said; “Of significant recognition is the activation of the Non-Custodial Measures which has since 2019 appreciably reduced influx of persons into Custodial Centres.

“From inception to date about 31,963 minor offenders have served their sentences through non-custodial measures thus reducing inmates’ population by that number. Another intervention is the Virtual court room system introduced to Medium Security Custodial Centre MSCC Kuje by the Federal Ministry of Justice to enhance speedy trial of suspects in custody”.

According to him, the NCoS was poised and ever ready to boldly confront emerging threats, knowing that no institution was immune to challenges.

“In fact, NCoS believes in the theory that ‘the difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them. In other words, there are always lessons to draw from every trying moment. Through the bumpy paths, twists and turns, we have come out stronger and the better for it.

“The Service has come up with a good number of strategies to contain the spate of attacks on Custodial Centres and neutralize any threat to security. These include robust strategic engagements with sister security agencies for reinforcement, entreaties to government for increased budgetary provision and continuous recruitment of personnel, deployment of technology, harmonization of inmates’ biometrics, improved staff welfare, infrastructure upgrade, capacity building and lots more”, he said

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