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'People will be happy to come' — minister wants to upgrade Ikoyi prison

The minister promised to develop the structures and facilities at the correctional centre.

The government wants correctional centres to be a place of education and transformation [IHV Nigeria]

Tunji-Ojo made this promise while addressing newsmen after inspecting various agencies and parastatals under the Ministry of Interior in Lagos.

The minister promised to develop the structures and facilities in the Ikoyi correctional centre, adding that it would also explore interagency collaboration.

"So we are very sure in due course Nigerians will see what we will do. It won’t be business as usual. It is going to be an enhancement of efficiency and management of government's structural resources in such a way that Nigeria will be a safer place.

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"People will be happy to come to the correctional centre. Urbanisation is real and has come down on this facility.

"I see no reason why this facility should be here. Government will look into this to see how we can perhaps relocate some of these correctional centres," the minister said.

He noted that the law specified a buffer zone of 100 metres for correctional centres and adjoining lands, but added that for the Ikoyi Correctional Centre that stipulation had been violated.

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Tunji-Ojo stressed that the present administration was a law-abiding government and would explore all opportunities and avenues to make right what may be wrong with the centre.

He said that the goal of government was to have custodial centres that would be good correctional centres indeed, and not a place that would be psychologically damaging.

"So, we want the inmates in the correctional centres to be reformed, transformed and corrected.

"And we think that the change of name from prison, which is a place of incarceration, to correction which is a place of transformation should take effect indeed.

"We don't want to pay lip service to the change of name, we want a change of ideology, orientation and a change in terms of our approach of reformation so that people will leave here and see this place as a place of hope.

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"We want this place to be a place of education and transformation, and we believe that in this environment it is difficult to achieve that. This place is more like a security threat with due respect," he said.

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