By Palma Ileye
Nigerian Correctional Service, NCoS, has disclosed that there were 3,341,72 inmates on death row in Custodial Centres across the country.
Making the disclosure during the 2023 Media Parley with Interior Correspondents at the NCoS Headquarters in Abuja, National Public Relations Officer, ACC Abubakar Umar revealed that as at Monday, 18th of December, 2023, there were a total of 77,849 inmates comprising of 76,081 males and 1,768 females in custody.
Giving a breakdown of the figures, Umar said that there were 18,935 357 Convicted inmates, 52,512, Awaiting Trial Person, and 1,324, Lifers 1,293 15.
He said that it could be observed that the number of Awaiting Trial Persons, ATP, in custody constitutes 69 percent of the total inmate population adding that the high number of ATP was a phenomenon that is challenging for the Service.
In his words, “As at Monday, 18th of December, 2023, there were a total of 77,849 inmates comprising of 76,081 males and 1,768 females. The breakdown according to their classes is as follows:
CLASS: MALE FEMALE
Convicted inmates 18,935 357
Awaiting Trial Persons 52,512 1,324, Lifers 1,293 15, IDR 3,341 72, TOTAL 76,081 1,768.”
Stating however that the Service was working towards alleviating this conundrum and providing judicial guarantees for them.
He said, “Having mentioned that, I am pleased to inform you that 2023 was eventful and came with a brighter perspective for the Service. This year, we were able to enhance the fortification of our custodial facilities from external attacks and aggression. Also, we have not recorded any form of internal insurrection from within our facilities. This result is largely attributed to adequate provision of the basic needs and necessities of inmates, as well as the proactive efforts of the Service through the deployment of technology in surveillance and logistical provisions for rapid response in and around custodial facilities. In addition, we have explored interagency synergy in building security in and around Custodial Centres in Nigeria.”
The Corrections PRO stated that in 2023, NCoS was able to improve on the treatment regime for inmates in the areas of reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration.
On issues surrounding the feeding of inmates, he said it was Policy based.
“Suffice it to mention that a total of 1,840 inmates sat for the 2023 NECO/SSCE, while many others are undergoing various academic programmes in Custodial Centres nationwide. As you are aware, our partnership with the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, is yielding pragmatic results as many inmates are undergoing various degree programmes, including doctorate degrees, in custody.
“In terms of staff welfare, we are committed towards improving the wellbeing of personnel as they are invaluable in achieving Service mandates.
“In addition to providing more barracks and office accommodation, we succeeded in the massive promotion of Staff this year. In 2023 alone, we were able to promote more than 20,000 Officers and men.
“Only yesterday, we decorated a total of 5,014 personnel who were recently promoted, in addition to the 17,693 who were elevated earlier in the year. In the area of cushioning the hardship faced by staff arising from the fuel subsidy removal, we rolled out several palliative measures among which is the provision of mass transit buses to convey staff residing in faraway areas to and from work at no cost,” he disclosed.
He said that with the initiative and support of the Minister for Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Corrections has been able to trim down the numbers in custody following the release of 4,086 inmates who had options of fine and/or compensation.
Noting that this was in addition to other measures such as construction of new custodial facilities in the six (6) geopolitical zones of Nigeria, strengthening the non-custodial alternative, provision of adequate logistics for court duties, and other initiatives towards decongesting custodial facilities.
Furthermore, he expressed gratitude to the Media saying, “I wish to specially appreciate members of the fourth estate of the realm for their unflinching support to the Service. I use this medium to call for improved collaboration in 2024 as we strive towards enhancing penal management in Nigeria.”
Also, he called for further synergy in the coming year 2024, especially as it relates to positive and favourable reportage of the Service.
Emphasizing that the press was an indispensible ally and stakeholders in its success story as well as the quest towards increased public safety and national security.