The Federal Government on Thursday freed 150 inmates from the Maximum Security Custodial Centre Janguza in Kano State.
The Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, made this known in Kano while releasing the inmates.
Tunji-Ojo, represented by the Assistant Director in the Ministry of Interior, Dr Anayo Romanus-Nzekwe, said the release of 150 inmates out of the 4,068 nationwide was part of President Bola Tinubu’s mantra of renewed hope.
He said, “The Federal Government wants to decongest Custodial Centres and make them humane for proper reformation and rehabilitation of offenders to take place.
“The released inmates were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment with the option of fine and compensation and cannot afford to pay their fines and are languishing in custody.
“The sum of N13.4 million was spent in Kano state out of N585 million raised by philanthropic individuals, groups and corporate bodies, as part of their corporate social responsibility, for this purpose nationwide.’’
He further explained that all inmates in Custodial Centres who have fines and compensation not exceeding N1 million were qualified and would benefit from this gesture.
“We have given the inmates requisite training aimed at impacting their lives functionally and equipping them with the knowledge for their self-reliance upon discharge.’’
They were given N10,000 each to enable them return to their various homes and villages.
He commended the Controller-General of Corrections and staff of the Nigerian Correctional Service for providing the needed platform and mechanisms towards the safe and humane custody of inmates.
Tunji-Ojo called on the public, communities to receive the returning citizens (inmates) with open arms and refrain from stigmatising them as it could drive them back to committing offence, which would further endanger the society.
He implore the inmates to see the initiative as a second chance to make things right again.
“Stay off crime and criminality and join hands with our father, President Bola Tinubu, to make Nigeria a great nation.
“Abide by the instructions and training you have received while in custody and be good ambassadors in your communities” Tunji-Ojo said
In his remark, the Controller General of Corrections, Mr Halliru Nababa, commended the Minister of Interior for securing the release of 150 inmates sentenced with options of fine by various courts in Kano State.
The CG represented by the Controller of Corrections, Kano State Command, Suleiman Inuwa, said the “fine paid and compensation” has already made a significant impact on the lives of numerous inmates across the country.
He urged the inmates not to return to crime and criminality and to make judicious use of the transport fare given to them to start a small business that would help them earn a living.
One of the released inmates, who spoke on behalf of others, thanked the Federal Government for the gesture and pledged to be of good conduct.