Omeiza Ajayi

As part of efforts to decongest the nation’s prisons, the Federal Government has said it will expedite action on the immediate completion of at least three out of the six 3,000-capacity mega custodial centres spread across the geopolitical zones.

The development would add 9,000 spaces to the current carrying capacity of Nigerian Prisons.

Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola disclosed this on Monday in Abuja after an inspection tour of one of the facilities located in Karshi town of the Federal Capital Territory FCT.

Nigeria’s entire national custodial facilities have a maximum capacity for 57, 278 inmates.

However, as at the last count, there was a total population of 68,747 inmates, made up of 67,422 males and 1,325 females.

Speaking after the tour, Aregbesola said; “I am impressed with the pace of work and I have asked the contractors to continue working at full speed. The challenge we have is funding and I am going to meet with our dear president on this issue to see how we can get more funds to at least complete three of the six projects.

“By this, we hope to be able to complete this project in Karshi, the one in Kano and the one in Bori, Rivers state.

“When we are able to do that, it will reduce the stress on our other facilities and also enhance the administration of justice”.

The project is in continuation of the implementation of Nigerian Correctional Service reform which was approved by the Federal Executive Council in May 2017.

On the design of the project, the Controller General of Corrections, Haliru Nababa said it includes a maximum security custodial centre – for long and high risk inmates – and a medium security custodial centre – for medium term and minor offenders.

According to him, there would be two court rooms for a High Court and a Magistrate Court for easy dispensation of cases; standard workshops/vocational centres; classrooms, hospital, places of worship for both Christians and Muslims, recreational centres, shopping centre, guest house, club house and a host of other facilities.

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