By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) yesterday revealed that about 2, 745 inmates who have been condemned to death in various formations across the country are currently awaiting execution.
Speaking yesterday during a tour of its facility in Gwagwalada, Abuja, the Comptroller General of NCS, Ja’afaru Ahmed, added that 22 former members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect, who have been deradicalized by the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) have sat for the Senior School Certificate Examination, a development described by the service as part of its rehabilitation efforts.
He however blamed lackadaisical attitudes some state governors to sign death penalty sentence of the condemned inmates as one of the factors contributing to congestion in Correctional facilities.
Ahmed, who was represented by his spokesman, Francis Enobore, said the Administration of Criminal Justice Act was in place to hasten the trial of suspects so that Correctional facilities could be decongested.
“Governors are not willing to sign death sentences of condemned inmates, neither are they ready to commute their death sentence to life imprisonment.”
The CG said not more than 24 states have domesticated the Act, adding thag the Act will help decongest facilities, “as some of its provisions empowers Correctional centres to reject inmates so that facilities are not overcrowded.”
He said the service has 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 has already taken off in some locations across the country for a re-assessment of utility services in NCoS facilities nationwide, currently ongoing in order to device possible ways of coping with the phenomenal overcrowding in the system and avoid recurrence.
He said that 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.
“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.
“A total of 32 satellite custodial centres shut down by the Boko Haram insurgency have also been re-opened.
“In order to improve access to justice for pre-trial detainees, a total of 382 operational vehicles have been procured and distributed between 2016 and 2018, for inmates to be taken to court for hearing as and when due.”