As part of its drive to decongest the country’s correctional facilities, the Federal Government has recommended the payment of a N585 million release fine for 4,000 offenders.
This was revealed by the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, on Saturday when launching the project at Abuja’s Kuje prison.
Tunji-Ojo stated that detainees with fines of less than N1 million are eligible for the ministry’s initiative. According to him, there are around 4,068 of these detainees.
He stated that the program will boost correctional institution decongestion and reduce overdue detention of detainees due to a lack of bail cash.
- “It’s with great pleasure that I stand with you today to flag off the release of 4,068 inmates sentenced to various terms of imprisonment with the option of fine and compensation in custodial status nationwide. This is in a bid to decongest custodial centres as well as make ready proper reformation and rehabilitation of offenders to take place.
- “As of yesterday, the 17th of November 2023, there were about 8804 inmates in 253 custodial facilities nationwide with a total installed capacity of less than 50,000. It shows that our custodial centres are overcrowded, necessitating this initiative we are flagging off today,” he said.
Furthermore, the Minister also noted that the government will not be funding the program by itself, but will be funded through a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative from private sector players and philanthropists nationwide.
- “Most of the inmates are indigents who cannot afford to pay their fine languishing in custody. The total fund of N585 million was raised by cooperate bodies as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for this purpose. Hence, all inmates in custodial centres who have fines or compensation not exceeding 1 million are qualified and will benefit from this gesture. In addition, we are also providing each of them a stipend to enable them to stand in their community,” he added.