Nigeria Correctional Service Cites Funding Shortages for Delays in Completing Ultra-Modern Custodial Centres

Nigeria's Correctional Service faces delays in completing 6 ultra-modern custodial centres due to funding shortages, weather, and contractor issues, but remains committed to reducing overcrowding and improving inmate living conditions.

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Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
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Nigeria Correctional Service Cites Funding Shortages for Delays in Completing Ultra-Modern Custodial Centres

Nigeria Correctional Service Cites Funding Shortages for Delays in Completing Ultra-Modern Custodial Centres

The Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) spokesperson Abubakar Umar has attributed delays in completing six ultra-modern 3,000-capacity custodial centres across Nigeria's geopolitical zones to funding shortages, adverse weather, and contractor issues. The initiative, led by former President Muhammadu Buhari, aimed to construct these centres in each zone to address inmate overcrowding and improve living conditions.

Umar noted that the centre located in the North West, in Janguza, Kano state, has been commissioned and is being used to its full capacity, containing facilities like schools, hospitals, courts, and vocational training centres. The other centres in the remaining geopolitical zones are at various stages of completion, with some nearing readiness for commissioning. Despite the challenges, the NCoS is committed to seeing these projects through and increasing its capacity by 18,000 to reduce overcrowding in custodial facilities.

Why this matters: Overcrowding in Nigeria's correctional facilities has been a persistent issue, with the inmate population often exceeding the designed capacity. The completion of these ultra-modern custodial centres is vital in addressing this problem and providing better living conditions for inmates.

As of April 15, 2024, a total of 3,504 inmates were on death row, including 73 females and 3,431 males. However, there were no executions of inmates on death row across the custodial centres in 2023. The former Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, had previously urged state governors to sign death warrants of inmates as a means of decongesting correctional facilities, but there has been a moratorium on the execution of death sentences in Nigeria due to advocacy by human rights groups.

Instead, rehabilitation and reformatory programmes were extended to these inmates, including skill empowerment and academic opportunities. Some inmates have even graduated from the National Open University of Nigeria and changed their behavior, with some recommended for clemency or pardon.

NCoS spokesperson Abubakar Umar stated, "The initiative, led by former President Muhammadu Buhari, aimed to construct these centres in each zone to address inmate overcrowding and improve living conditions." He emphasized the NCoS's commitment to completing the projects despite the challenges faced, as they are critical in reducing overcrowding and providing better facilities for inmates' rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

Key Takeaways

  • Delays in completing 6 ultra-modern custodial centres due to funding, weather, and contractors.
  • 1 centre in Kano commissioned, others at various completion stages.
  • 3,504 inmates on death row as of April 2024, no executions in 2023.
  • Rehabilitation and academic programs extended to death row inmates.
  • Centres aim to address overcrowding and improve living conditions for inmates.