The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, expressed concern over the state of custodial centers in Nigeria during a visit by the EU Ambassador, Samuela Isopi.
He emphasized that over 70% of the 79,000 inmates are awaiting trial, and an additional 4,000 are unable to pay their fines, resulting in their detention.
Tunji-Ojo highlighted the potential for reducing the inmate population by 40% through the exploration of non-custodial alternatives as outlined in the Correctional Service Act.
He said ” over 70 percent of the 79,000 inmates are awaiting trial.
“We have over 4000 inmates in the facilities for their inability to pay various fines. We believe we can reduce the number of inmates in our correctional facilities by about forty percent if we explore non-custodial alternatives as provided for in the Correctional Service Act.”
He also discussed the need for EU support in deploying technology to enhance border management in Nigeria.
The minister called for EU assistance in conducting an audit of all correctional centers and outlined ongoing reforms in travel documentation processes and identity theft prevention.
He said, “The European Union is important to the socio-economic development of Nigeria. Our relationship with the EU is historical in terms of but not limited to bilateral support,” he said.
“If we are able to solve crime and migration problems in Nigeria, Africa will be better for it. Due to the boundaries, Africa shares with the EU, our problems are more of an EU problem than any other part of the world. And, because we are committed to solving this, we will explore all avenues.”
The ambassador pledged the EU’s support in managing migration-related issues and combating human trafficking and smuggling.
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