Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, Minister of Interior, announced the release of 4,068 inmates from correctional centres across the country, emphasising the aim to ease congestion and foster humane conditions for rehabilitation. During a visit to the Kuje Medium Correctional Centre, where 37 inmates were released, the minister highlighted the plight of those unable to pay fines post-conviction.
“Our objective is to decongest these centres and ensure a conducive environment for the reformation of offenders,” Tunji-Ojo explained. “With over 80,804 inmates in facilities designed for less than 50,000, overcrowding remains a significant issue we aim to address.”
He noted the collaborative effort involving the Federal Government, individuals, groups, and corporations, raising N585 million to facilitate the release of financially challenged inmates with fines not exceeding N1 million. Tunji-Ojo emphasised that the release wasn’t just about freedom but also entailed training and empowerment to support the inmates’ functional lives post-release.
“Investing in their training is crucial for their successful reintegration into society and preventing recidivism,” Tunji-Ojo emphasised, aligning the initiative with President Bola Tinubu’s administration’s commitment to reformation.
Acknowledging the Nigerian Correctional Service’s role in maintaining safe custody, he praised their contribution to national security by securing deviants. He assured continued government support for staff and inmates’ welfare enhancement.
Highlighting societal responsibility in rehabilitating offenders, Tunji-Ojo urged against stigmatisation upon the inmates’ return to society, urging open reception. He implored the released individuals to seize the chance to contribute positively to Nigeria’s progress.
Controller-General Haliru Nababa echoed the call for the freed inmates to embrace reintegration and avoid criminal activities, expressing gratitude to facilitators while urging further support from other benevolent entities to alleviate custodial congestion.