The Presidential Committee on Correctional Reforms and Decongestion has released a convicted young girl, Rahama Husseini on Friday 27th August, 2021. She had been in custody at the Medium Security Custodial Centre Kurmawa, Kano for almost seven years for the unfortunate death of her husband in 2015 when she was only Fourteen (14) years old.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. (Dr.) Justice I. U Bello (Rtd) who presided over the proceedings and assisted by the Secretary, Leticia Ayoola-Daniels, revealed that the release was made possible by the cooperation of Kano State Governor, His Excellency Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje with the support of representatives of UNODC and Buni Yadi Foundation. Meanwhile, UNODC and Buni Yadi Foundation have promised to further follow up on her with post care and rehabilitation programmes.
In the same vein, thirty one other inmates who were serving various jail terms at the Custodial Centre, have earlier regained their freedom and breathed the air of freedom on Thursday 26th August, 2021 when the Presidential Committee first visited the facility in continuation of its Decongestion Programme.
Some of the cases reviewed involved elderly inmates, women, those who were unable to make payments to defray prescribed fines, those with Frail Health and other peculiar cases. In the light of the above, nineteen (19) inmates were released through payments of fines by Federal Ministry of Justice, three (3) through payment of fines by Buni Yadi Foundation and Two (2) by Policy Vault Africa while seven (7) were released on the ground of old age and frail health.
It will be recalled that on the 30th of October 2017, the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, constituted and inaugurated the Presidential Committee on Correctional Reforms and Decongestion. Since then, over 10,000 inmates have been released. The Committee had appealed to state Governors to help follow up on rehabilitation programmes for the released inmates. The Secretary further revealed that, in recent times, the committee is focused on reformation of juvenile Justice.
The Officer in charge of the Correctional Centre, CSP Mu’azu Tukur while presenting the inmates explained that the Centre was established in 1910 with the official capacity of 750 inmates but, however stated further, that the actual admission of inmates at the moment was 1,673.
CPS Mu’azu presented 90 inmates for review and gracious consideration for release by the committee. He categorized them as Inmates with the Option of Fines (31), Inmates with Option of Fines and Compensation (33), Aged Inmates (15), Convicted Inmates serving three years and above and have less than six months left to serve (9) and Inmates with Frail Health (2).
The visit also witnessed the presentation of books donated to the Centre by His Excellency, the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, GCON. The Committee Chairman revealed that the gesture was in support of the committee’s initiative of Readership Attracting a Reward. He applauded the Vice President for aligning with the committee’s initiative and also appealed to other good spirited Nigerians to lend their support to the initiative.
He stated that “we pray that other Nigerians will see this as an exemplary leadership demonstrated by His Excellency the Vice President for aligning with this idea of Readership Attracting a Reward among inmates. This will gradually enable inmates to attract commendation for being of good behaviour, and by the new Act of Correctional Service Centres which has vested the Comptroller-General of Correctional Centres with the powers to recommend that inmates should be granted amnesty on the ground of good behaviour which could be acquisition of a certificate or skills”.
He urged the Correctional Centres Authority to encourage inmates not only to read the book but also to pass the knowledge to those who cannot read.
In a related development, the Governor of Kano state, His Excellency, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has applauded President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR for setting up the Presidential Committee to look into problems of congestion and human rights violations at Correctional Centres with the aim of proffering solutions. He expressed the state government’s support for the ongoing reform and decongestion programme.
The Governor stated this when the Committee paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House. He also appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for citing a mega correctional centre which is already at an advanced stage in Kano.
“On our own, we adopted two strategies namely constitution of the Committee on Prerogative of Mercy through which inmates are released twice a year as well as setting up of another Committee on Administration of Justice to handle administrative bottlenecks hampering delivery of justice in Kano State. We have pardoned 3, 717 inmates since 2015. We have also established a reformatory where those freed can learn a skill and be rehabilitated. Some of them have also been given employment by the State Government”. He further stated.
Meanwhile, Hon. (Dr.) Justice I. U Bello (Rtd.) informed the governor that members of the committee rejected the release of some inmates convicted for drug related offences.
He said that “those convicted for drug related offences calls for circumspection. This is because they were not only selling but also trafficking in drugs. The Committee considered them very notorious to the society and should not be allowed to create a permissive atmosphere that will make such conducts flourish in the society”.
The visit was concluded with a call on the governor to use his pragmatic leadership and passion for justice delivery to expedite action on cases involving youths in conflict with the law by establishing a standard rehabilitation centre for juvenile cases.
For: Deputy Director (Information)