The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, yesterday said that the Federal Government has given approval for the construction of 3,000 capacity custodian centres across the country in the six geo-political zones to tackle the scourge of overcrowded correctional centres.
The minister made this disclosure to members of the Order of the Knights of St. Mulumba (Nigeria), the Lagos Metropolitan Council and other participants at the one-day Policy Advocacy Conference on Decongestion of Correctional Centres held to mark the 60th anniversary of the Council in Lagos yesterday. Aregbesola said the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCOS) mandate was to rehabilitate and re-integrate inmates back into society and regretted that the service had no power to reject inmates or release them at will to determine their length of stay only until after adjudication through the judicial system. He said the service had been collaborating with bodies such as St. Mulumba on the ways to decongest the centre.
The minister, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Nigeria Correctional Services, Suleiman Tala, said the NCOS had been carrying out its core mandate religiously, especially in the area of rehabilitation and preparations for life after incarceration, saying that some 3,000 inmates were currently undergoing different degree programmes with the National Open University (NOUN) while 50 others were studying various programmes for the National Certificate of Education (NCE).