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Aregbesola seeks decongestion of correctional centres

In a bid to curb the spread of Coronavirus, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola has called for decongestion of correctional centres.

This was disclosed by the minister at a meeting with the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Chief Judge of the FCT, Ishaq Bello as well as the Comptroller-General of Corrections, Jaafaru Ahmed.

They resolved to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to urge governors to consider granting some of the inmates amnesty.

He said under no circumstance should COVID-19 find its way into any of the centres.

Ogbeni Aregbesola, according to a statement by the ministry’s Director of Press, Mohammed Manga, made the call during an emergency meeting held in his office in Abuja.

The meeting was on how to manage the custodial centres of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The minister said the meeting was conveyed in response to the outcome of the Presidential Task Force meeting on COVID-19, adding that the safety of inmates, officials of the Nigeria Correctional Service and all Nigerians was of great concern to the government.

He said that the nation was in a terrible situation which required that all hands should be on deck to ensure that the pandemic did not spread to any of the custodial centres.

Aregbesola urged the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, chief judges, governors and other stakeholders in the justice sector to identify measures to be taken for quick decongestion of the custodial centres.

Ahmed said that the country had 244 custodial centres, 139 of which were main custodial centres and 85 satellite centres with a total of 74,127 inmates, among which 1,450 were women, 21, 901 convicted and 52,226 awaiting trial.

Malami called for profiling of the inmates to have a joint arrangement with the governors and chief judges for speedy trial of awaiting trial inmates, which constitute the largest population at the custodial centres.

Bello advocated constitutional amendment to remove the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCos) from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list, for easy Administration of Criminal Justice System and as a measure to decongest custodial facilities across the nation.

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