The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Monday reiterated that the skills acquisition centre set up by the federal government connoted the high premium placed on prison inmate’s welfare by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The Minister gave this hint in Keffi, Nassarawa state during the commissioning of the skill acquisition project workshop, launch and unveiling of the finished products and jail delivery exercise held at the Keffi new correctional centre.
The programme which was put together by the federal ministry of interior with the support of the federal ministry of justice was in recognition of the aspect of training and rehabilitation of the inmates as provided for in the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019.
Represented by the Assistant Comptroller General Correctional, Peter Pevigo, the minister noted that the Act could not have come at a better time considering the fact that inmates’ welfare and rehabilitation have become a global phenomenon.
He said, “This event connotes the high premium placed by the president Muhammadu Buhari’s administration on the welfare and indeed the judicious use of time by the inmates’ in our custodial centres.
“Correctional services across the globe through the instrumentality of good legislations are tilting towards improving and upgrading the lives of their citizens who have ran afoul of their laws,” he added.
Also speaking, the Attorney General of the federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN particularly harped on the need to decongest the Nigerian prisons, saying that pursuant to the federal executive council’s directive, the exercise has been designed to review the cases of inmates convicted of minor offences.
He said, “It is the mandate of the committee to secure the release of many of such inmates as possible through the payment of their fines as well as those with special cases, and carried out the on the spot assessment of prison conditions,”
He however noted that aside the releases of over 3,768 inmates which has since been carried out, he assured that the current administration will not overlook the need for non-custodial measures.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman presidential committee on prisons reform and decongestion and FCT High Court judge, Justice Ishaq Bello, who declared opened the workshop, as well as the unveiling of the skills acquisition finished products, hailed the centre for the feat.
According to Bello, in reconciling with the Nigerian society after prison terms, inmates’ should be able to acquired skills in any trade of interest and continued to live responsibly.
“This is just the beginning and I believe that in the course of time, the programme would enjoy perpetual existence across Nigerian prisons,” he added.