Prison decongestion:Aregbesola seeks special funding for completion of 9,000 capacity custodial facilities

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Section of the facility under construction PHOTO: Tina Abeku

Aregbesola and his team while on inspection of the Karshi special custodial center. PHOTO: Tina Abeku

1) Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola being shown the construction blueprint of the 3, 000 capacity special custodial facility in Karshi, FCT by the building contractors and the Controller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), during an inspection tour, yesterday. PHOTO: Tina Abeku

To address growing concerns over prisons congestion and inmates’ welfare, Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has said that his ministry will make an appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari for special intervention funding for the completion of three out of six mega custodial centers across the geopolitical zones.

The minister made this known during a facility tour of the Karshi special custodial center under the supervision of the Nigerian Correctional Service, ( NCoS), which stands at 55 percent completion rate, yesterday in Abuja.

He said construction work at the Karshi facility just like five others in the six geopolitical zones are at various stages of completion but stagnated due to funding challenges hence the need for more funding appeal to complete at least three out of the six before the end of the present administration.

“The President had earlier provided an intervention fund because without the intervention fund, if this projects were to run purely on budget, there is no way we could have gone this far because every budget cycle has a limit.

“My desire is to have the first three out of the six completed before this administration ends and I am working at it. I am going to approach the President for more support to get the first three namely, the one in Kano, this, (Karshi), and the one in Rivers state.

Aregbesola also explained that “Three of the custodial centers are at advance stage of completion among which one is almost completed, the one in Kano but the one we are seeing here in Karshi is at 55 percent completion”

According to him when these three are completed, it will increase the capacity of the service by 9, 000 special facility capacity for holding both trial and convicted inmates.

The special facilities also have both maximum and medium security custodial facilities and also have holding capacity for inmates on death row, he said.

“These facilities will have capacity to hold 3, 000 inmates each of several categories. I am happy with the quality pace of work and supervision of the project in Karshi because it is being done by professionals but the major challenge is funding.

He said when completed, the facilities will be the largest in Africa with a capacity of 3, 000 inmates, special females and males section, in-house courtroom and various other facilities including staff accomodation and schools.

“What we have here is something extraordinary. It is a mega custodial facility and nothing like this exists on the continent of Africa,” he adds.

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