The Presidential Committee on Correctional Reforms and Decongestion has set free five inmates and recommended three for bail from the Nigerian Maximum Security Correctional Centre in Ilorin, Kwara.
A statement by Mrs Modupe Ogundoro, a Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Justice, said the committee was led by its Chairman and former Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, retired Justice Ishaq Bello.
Ogundoro said that the fines of two inmates were paid, just as transportation money was given to the five released inmates by the Attorney -General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, (SAN).
Speaking at the exercise, Justice Bello said that the committee was mandated to visit correctional centres in the country and make situational assessment of the condition of inmates and the environment they were in.
“We are looking at the environment, medical facilities, hygiene and general cleanliness,” Bello explained.
He further said that the committee also had the responsibility to assess and free inmates who met the set down criteria and pay the fines of inmates who had option of fine.
Others to be considered, according to Bello, were aged inmates, those with terminal illnesses, and inmates who had over stayed in relation to the offences they were being tried for.
The chairman also emphasized the committee’s mandate to ensure that correctional centres had skills acquisition centres that would rehabilitate and redefine inmates before they were released to integrate into the larger society.
The chairman presented some inspirational and motivational books to the correctional centre to encourage the reading culture of the inmates on behalf of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, (SAN).
Bello maintained that the books would expose inmates to love, forgiveness, having a positive attitude, honesty and the consequences of actions taken.
“The idea is to encourage the transformation and reformation of inmates”, he emphasized.
Earlier, the Comptroller, Kwara Command of the service, Mr Baba Aliyu, expressed optimism that the mission of the committee to the facility would be successful.
For his part, the Chief Judge of Kwara, Justice Suleiman Kawu, said the state judiciary was happy to have the Committee in Kwara.
He expressed optimism that the committee would deliver on its mandate at the Maximum-Security Correctional Centre by way of decongestion, as well as reformation.(NAN)