The Federal Government has disclosed that it has raised N585million to be used for the payment of fines to secure the release of 4, 068 inmates across the federation.
Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, said the money was donated by several organisations as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, to the country.
He said the first phase of the release of the inmates would commence from the Kuje Correctional Center in Abuja.
The Interior Minister spoke on the sidelines of the 27th Ministerial Committee Meeting of the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa, GIABA, which held at the State House, Abuja, yesterday.
In attendance at the meeting were Ministers of Justice and heads of anti-corruption agencies from all the countries within the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.
Tunji-Ojo, who was a special guest at the meeting, said the Ministry of Interior would further collaborate with the Ministry of Justice to tackle the swelling number of awaiting trial inmates in various detention facilities in the country.
He said: “While the Ministry of Justice is in charge of judicial administration, the Ministry of Interior controls the Correctional Institutions, which are transformatory centers that are meant to ensure that inmates have their fundamental rights protected. Of course, they become rehabilitated to be reintegrated back into the society.
“Synergy is key and that is what we have, especially with the Justice Ministry.
“The Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Interior must work hand-in-hand to make sure that the target of the judicial system comes to fruition. The target is not to punish people. It is to remodel, rehabilitate and reintegrate them.
“The Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, understands that. So, it is like end-to-end- a value chain. The Judiciary will do theirs through the courts, then, the Ministry of Interior will take it from there to make sure that they (inmates) come out better and are integrated back into the society.
“From here, I am heading straight to the Kuje Correctional Center. We are flagging off the release of about 4,068 inmates. These are people that are non-violent offenders. People that are in, due to their inability to pay fines.
“I said it a couple of weeks ago that we are going to raise about N585m through CSR from corporate bodies, which God has helped us and we have been able to do that.”