The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has called on the judicial arm of government to support the ongoing reform in the Nigeria Correctional Service through timely conclusion of criminal cases. Aregbesola specifically advocated a 12-month timeline for dispensation of justice on criminal cases brought to.
I must blame the menace of correctional centres congestion on the nature of criminal justice system in Nigeria despite the fact there is limited funding. Criminal justice system encompasses all the paraphernalia of justice system in Nigeria; ranging from police, court, correctional centres and other law enforcement agencies. Investigation takes about weeks or months to conclude and when a matter is concluded on investigation and brought to court for trial, if charges are not filed against them in a court of competent jurisdiction you see there will be delay. Minister of Interior is working round the clock within his constitutional powers to decongest correctional centres. Recently, Aregbesola called on the 36 states governors to either sign death warrants. In recent years, there are calls for death penalty due to increase in cases of banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and terrorism. This is the time in Nigeria when we need the death sentence more than another time. Between October,2020 to date 3,851 inmates have escaped from Nigeria Correctional Service yet states governors have refused to sign death warrants of 3,008 inmates condemned by courts.
The state governors are against calls for the signing of the death warrants for 3,008 death row inmates in correctional centres across Nigeria. The minister had on July 23 accused the state governors of delaying the wheel of justice and contributing to congestion in correctional centres by refusing to sign the death warrants.
Aregbesola is facing dilemma over what to do with the 3,008 criminals in Nigeria Correctional Centres that have been condemned to death by the courts. The silent moratorium by state governors which borders on their unwillingness to endorse death sentences of condemned criminals is a big problem to Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has called on the judicial arm of government to support the ongoing reform in the Nigeria Correctional Service through timely conclusion of criminal cases. Aregbesola specifically advocated a 12-month timeline for dispensation of justice on criminal cases brought to the court.
The Minister spoke on Tuesday at a two-day Controller General of Corrections’ Retreat held in Sokoto, Sokoto State.
According to Aregbesola, the judiciary should ensure that from arrest of suspects to conclusion of their cases in court, the maximum time spent should not be more than 12-month.
He urged personnel of the correctional service to begin the advocacy for a year dispensation of justice on criminal cases.
Aregbesola said he’s a victim of delay in justice delivery, noting that his case on the restoration of his stolen mandate in 2007 activated the judiciary to peg the conclusion of election cases to a year.
The former governor of Osun State said timely dispensation of justice on criminal cases will not only reduce the number of awaiting trial inmates and decongest the correctional facilities but will also save the service a lot of money.
Speaking on the condition of correctional facilities in the country, Aregbesola said that beyond the law, attitudinal change is required from the society and personnel of Nigeria Correctional Service to drive the needed reform.
According to him, majority members of the society do not have correct understanding of what the correction centres should be, saying that is responsible for some negative comments on some issues involving activities of the NCos personnel.
Aregbesola who bemoaned what he described as unbefitting status of some of the correctional facilities urged the NCoS personnel to mobilise community efforts to change the facial appearance of their facilities.
He lamented some of the correctional facilities are dampening the morale of the officers and damaging the psychology of the inmates.
The Minister spoke on the need to make the correctional facilities centres for rebuilding inmates through standard operation procedures and improved welfare for both the inmates and the NCos personnels.
Speaking at the event, immediate past Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazau said it is a necessity for Nigeria as a country to meet up with international standard on treatment of inmates and the facilities hosting them.
Danbazau maintained that though Nigeria is making progress on the prison reform, there is still the need to continue advocacy for decongestion of correctional centres.
He said congestion of correction centres is a major challenge that must be permanently addressed.
The Federal Government recently re-stated its commitment to decongesting all the correctional centers across the country, saying the purpose of setting up such centers was to rehabilitate, reform and reintegrate inmates back to the society.
Responding to a question on the congestion of correctional centres in Nigeria, at the Joint Public Hearing on the 2020 Federal Government Budget, organized by the Appropriation Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives, at the National Assembly recently, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola disclosed that the Federal Government was passionate about the decongestion of correctional centers in the country.