The nation’s correctional centres have 3,413 inmates on death row, according to Mr Abubakar Umar, spokesman of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS).
Umar told newsmen on Friday in Abuja that the total number of inmates in centres across the country is 77,849 comprising 76,081 males and 1,768 females “as at Monday, December 18, 2023”.
The NCoS spokesman put the total number of Awaiting Trial Inmates (ATIs) at 53,836 comprising 52,512 males and 1,324 females.
“Awaiting Trial Persons (ATP), in custody constitute 69 per cent of the total inmate population. This phenomenon is a huge challenge to us,” he said.
He said that the service was working towards checking the trend by ensuring speedy trial of suspects.
He said that no form of internal insurrection had been witnessed within the facilities in 2023, and attributed that to the provision of basic needs and necessities to inmates.
Other factors include the proactive efforts of the NCoS, he added.
“This is through the deployment of technology for surveillance and provision of logistics for rapid response in and around custodial facilities,” he explained.
Umar said that the service explored interagency synergy in building security in and around custodial centres which yielded positive results.
He said that due to the proactive initiative and support of the Minister for Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Service was able to trim down the number of inmates in the custodial centres.
“The minister’s initiative ensured the release of 4,086 inmates who had options of fine and compensation,” he said.
According to him, the year also witnessed an improvement on the treatment regime for inmates, especially in the areas of reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration.
Umar said that a total of 1,840 inmates sat for the 2023 NECO/SSCE, while many others are undergoing various academic programmes in custodial centres nationwide.
“As you are aware, our partnership with the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), is yielding pragmatic results as many inmates are undergoing various academic programmes, including doctorate degree courses, in custody.
“In the area of staff welfare, we are committed to improving the wellbeing of personnel as they are invaluable in achieving service mandates.
“In addition to providing more barracks and office accommodation, we promoted many staffers this year. In 2023 alone, we promoted more than 20,000 officers and men.
“On Thursday, Dec. 22, we decorated a total of 5,014 personnel who were recently promoted. This is in addition to the 17,693 who were elevated earlier in the year.
“We also ameliorated the hardship faced by staff arising from the fuel subsidy removal by rolling out several palliative measures.
“One such measure was the provision of mass transit buses to convey staff residing in faraway areas to and from work, at no cost,” he said.