By Victoria Onehi
The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) has said a total of 53,836 out of 77,849 inmates are awaiting trial in its Custodial Centres accross the country.
The National Public Relations Officer of Nigerian Correctional Service AD Abubakar Danlami Umar, disclosed this at a Media parley with Interior Correspondents in Abuja yesterday.
“It could be observed that the number of Awaiting Trial Persons (ATP) 53,836 in custody constitutes 69 percent of the total inmate population.” Umar disclosed.
He said the high number of ATP is a phenomenon that is challenging for the Service but the Service is working towards alleviating this conundrum and providing judicial guarantees for them.
Umar further disclosed 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 are in custody.
He said this year the service is able to improve on the treatment regime for inmates in the areas of reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration.
“After undergoing their trainings in our facility,upon their discharge, whatever training the go through,they are given tools for it. If is it carpentry, welding or any entrepreneurship skill we put them through,they are given the tools to work to help them reintegrate back to the society.
“But then,what is the challenge they always face? It is the public. Once these inmates are trained and ready to be re-integrated back to the society to contribute to the economy of Nigeria,the public tend to stigmatise them. It is a fact that stigmatisation is a sin before God because you must give room for reform.These people are reformed, the society should accept them as reformed people and give them another opportunity. ” Umar explains.
He further disclosed that some of the inmates are also undergoing formal trainings as well.
“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. “
He said 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 are on towards decongesting custodial facilities.
In terms of staff welfare,Umar said in 2023 alone, the Service promoted 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.”
He thanked members of the Press of for their unflinching support to the Service and prays for improved collaboration in 2024.