2,745 inmates await execution, FG blames governors for failure to do the needful - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

2,745 inmates await execution, FG blames governors for failure to do the needful

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The federal government Wednesday said about 2, 745 inmates condemned to death are currently in various correctional centres across the country awaiting execution, a development it blamed on the state governors who failed to do the needful.

It also said 22 former members of the dreaded Boko Haram group de-radicalised by the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) sat for the Senior School Certificate Examination.

NCoS Comptroller General Ja’afaru Ahmed stated this at the end of year media parley in Abuja.

He said the refusal by some state governors to sign death sentence of condemned inmates was a major reason for congestion in the nation’s correctional facilities.

“Governors are not willing to sign death sentences of condemned inmates, neither are they ready to commute their death sentence to life imprisonment,” Ahmed said.

The NCoS boss, who was represented by his spokesman, Francis Enobore, said the Administration of Criminal Justice Act was put in place to hasten the trial of suspects so that correctional facilities could be decongested.

The CG said not more than 24 states had domesticated the Act, adding that the Act would help decongest facilities, “as some of its provisions empower correctional centres to reject inmates so that facilities are not overcrowded.”

Ahmed said the service had developed the Correction Information Management System (CIMS) to capture inmates’ biometric, access the length of remand and pre-trial detention proceedings in the correction system. 

He said the CIMS project had taken off in some locations across the country. 

The CG further said a re-assessment of utility services in NCoS facilities nationwide was currently ongoing in order to devise possible ways of coping with the phenomenal overcrowding in the system and avoid recurrence.

Enobore said the generous attention of the present administration to the NCoS, coupled with the doggedness of his boss, provided a recipe for fundamental changes in offenders’ management.

This, he said, was evident in the reinvigorated reformation and rehabilitation programmes in custodial centres across the country, “part of which is the multi-million naira bakery and confectionery unit established in three locations in 2019.”

“We have equally attempted to address the age-long infrastructural deficit through construction and rehabilitation of inmates’ cells; including the provision of beds and beddings to enhance humane custody.

“Of significant mention is the 3,000 capacity ultra-modern custodial centres approved for all the geo-political zones, with that of the North-west in Kano at the verge of completion, and that of North-central in Abuja, and Bori in Rivers State just commenced. 

On how the services fared in the ongoing insurgency in the North-east, he said: “A total of 32 satellite custodial centres shut down by the Boko Haram insurgency have also been re-opened.”

 He, however, said  in order to improve access to justice for pre-trial detainees, a total of 382 operational vehicles were procured and distributed between 2016 and 2018, for inmates to be taken to court for hearing as and when due.

Enobore, who said that NCoS had not left out the issue of welfare for its staff, revealed that since the appointment of the present helmsman, over 25,000 officers and men of the service had been promoted, some of whom were stagnated for up to 15 years.

“May I use this opportunity to formally inform you that funds have been released by the Federal Government (FG) to pay the promotion arrears of personnel. 

“For those who were promoted in 2013 and 2014, and accordingly, payment has been effected to all beneficiaries, including retired staff members,” he said.