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FG frees 37 inmates to ease congestion in Rivers State prisons

The minister stated the administration's commitment to freeing 4,068 inmates serving various sentences across the country.

Interior Minister, Olubunmi-Tunji-Ojo.

Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior, made the announcement during a release ceremony held at the Port Harcourt Maximum Security Custodial Centre.

Tunji-Ojo highlighted that the initiative is part of the Federal Government's comprehensive strategy to address overcrowding and improve the overall well-being of both staff and inmates across correctional facilities nationwide.

The minister, representing President Bola Tinubu's administration, stated their commitment to freeing 4,068 inmates serving various sentences across the country's custodial centers.

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Speaking through his Technical Adviser, Tunde Ogundare, Tunji-Ojo noted that a sum of ₦10,000 was provided to each released inmate to facilitate their smooth transition back home. Additionally, he revealed that a total of over ₦585 million was generated as corporate social responsibility contributions from various corporate bodies to support the release initiative.

Expressing concern over the overcrowded conditions at the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre, Ogundare stated that the facility, designed for about 800 inmates, currently holds more than 4,000 individuals. This situation, he declared, is unacceptable and goes against the present administration's commitment to ensuring humane conditions within custodial centers.

"The statistics show that the facility is more than 500 percent congested, meaning that space meant for one person is occupied by 5 people. This is an unacceptable condition which the present administration will not allow," he affirmed.

Ogundare noted that the decongestion efforts are part of the government's short-term measures to combat overcrowding, with a focus on ensuring the proper reintegration of inmates into society.

He disclosed that the freed inmates underwent training in various skills and vocations, accompanied by post-release orientation courses to ease their transition back into their communities.

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While urging the public, especially the communities of the released inmates, to accept and support them, Ogundare cautioned against stigmatising the individuals, noting the importance of encouraging their proper reintegration.

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