The Federal Government has commissioned a 20-bed hospital, equipment and generating plant at the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Ilesa, Osun State.
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who commissioned the project, explained that the comprehensive healthcare centre was part of the COVID-19 intervention fund given to the Correctional Service, adding that each geopolitical zone of the country benefited from the healthcare project.
He restated President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to repositioning, reformation and rehabilitation of inmates in all the custodial centres of the country.
The former governor of Osun State maintained that inmates were entitled to their full human dignity, decent meals, medical treatment and humane accommodation, adding that their rights should be protected and enhanced.
He appealed to state governments to take advantage of the new constitution amendment to activate speedy judicial process to take care of offenders, as well as providing the requisite infrastructure for state inmates, who constitute the majority of inhabitants of custodial centres nationwide.
Media Adviser to the Minister of Interior, Sola Fasure, quoted Aregbesola as saying, “The reform President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration introduced to correctional services was designed to change the conception of the penal system from the punitive prison system to a correction system that reforms and integrates convicted offenders back into society as part of civilised humanity.
“Inmates are also humans created in the image of God but who have made bad choices leading to their incarceration.
“Nevertheless, their full dignity and rights should be protected and enhanced. They are entitled to decent meals, medical treatment and humane accommodation, among others. The whole idea is to help them recover the best version of themselves and become who they were destined to be, their past mistakes notwithstanding.
“But generally, the states must introduce judicial reforms that will make possible prompt dispensation of justice and do away with long and often indeterminate detention which creates the deluge of awaiting trial inmates in the custodial centres.
“Many inmates have been in detention for a period longer than the maximum sentence the offence they were alleged to have committed carries. This is miscarriage of justice and inexcusable. We cannot claim to be a just and humane society when this happens to any of our citizens.
“However, with our intervention, a regional mega facility with capacity for 3,000 inmates has been established in Ilesa. It is a village on its own, with courts and other infrastructure for a modern custodial centre.
“We established six such facilities in the six geo-political zones of the country to address the challenge of congestion, especially in urban centres and ease the burden of accommodation for inmates. The ones in Abuja and Kano are almost completed and we hope that with improved funding, the others, including the one here, will be completed soon.”
He added that the hospital, generating plant and equipment are poised to guarantee adequate medical treatment and welfare for those in the correctional centres.
In his welcome address, the Controller General of Corrections, Haliru Nababa, explained that the new set of infrastructure underpins the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari government in enhancing humane containment of persons in custody and repositioning the correctional service in line with standard global practice.
Nababa expressed gratitude to the President and the Minister for not sparing any effort in getting a better deal for inmates across the country, through the birth of ideas that will further assist in engendering the success of the current reforms.
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