The Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, has called for the decongestion of correctional centres in the country in an effort to curtail the spread of Coronavirus.
He made this call 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.
A statement issued by the Director of Press of the Ministry, Mohammed Manga, noted that the meeting was held to deliberate on effective measures through which the custodial centres of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) can be managed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aregbesola stressed that the terrible situation which the country has found itself required that all hands be on deck to ensure that the pandemic did not spread to any of the custodial centres.
The Interior Minister further emphasized that the safety of inmates, officials of the Nigeria Correctional Service, and all Nigerians is of great concern to the government.
He therefore, urged the Federal and State government to identify measures to be taken for a quick decongestion of the custodial centres.
Also, the Comptroller-General of Corrections, Jaafaru Ahmed, said that of the 244 custodial centres in Nigeria, 139 are main custodial centres and 85 satellite centres having a total of 74,127 inmates, among which 1,450 are women, 21, 901 convicted and 52,226 awaiting trial.
In his remark, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), suggested that a joint arrangement with the governors and chief judges for the speedy trial of awaiting trial inmates should be made through profiling of the the inmates as those awaiting trials constitute the largest population at the custodial centres.
Therefore, they reiterated that President Muhammadu Buhari should urge governors to consider granting some of the inmates amnesty, while noting that under no circumstance should COVID-19 find its way into any of the centres.