The re-opening of custodial centres to admit all categories of inmates has been announced by the Nigerian Correctional Service, NCoS. The Controller-General of Corrections, Ja’afaru Ahmed, stated that this was necessary to enhance access to justice and the administration of criminal justice in the country.
Meanwhile, he highlighted the guidelines for the reopening of the custodial centres which all State Controllers and Officers In-Charge were directed to adhere strictly to.
The service had stopped admitting new inmates as a way of preventing the spread of COVID-19 infections in its facilities.
Federal Government had in April granted amnesty to 2,600 inmates across the country, in a bid to address the congestion in the prisons.
At the last count, 3,751 inmates comprising convicts and awaiting trial persons who met the criteria set by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy had been release
However, in a statement on Wednesday by its spokesman, Austin Njoku, disclosed that only designated custodial centres with isolation units are to admit new inmates.
COVID-19 screening should be conducted on all inmates at the isolation units and a confirmatory test after the 14 days should be conducted on all the inmates at the isolation units. Regular fumigation of the custodial centres should be carried out at agreed intervals.
The Controller-General of Corrections, Ja’afaru Ahmed, implored the state controllers to liaise with the judiciary and other stakeholders in criminal justice administration to ensure the smooth take-off of these guidelines and fight against COVID-19 in our custodial centres.