The comptroller-general of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS), Ja’afaru Ahmed yesterday, revealed that no fewer than 21,000 persons, who violated the COVID-19 lockdown order of the federal government were sentenced to community service in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) alone, as an alternative to custody.
The comptroller-general, who made the disclosure during the decoration of the newly promoted NCoS senior officers of the Service said the move further boosted the federal government decongestion strategy.
He said, “Within the lockdown, those who violated the restriction order by the federal government were over 21,000 in FCT alone. They had to do some level of community service within the FCT itself”.
“This has also helped in reducing the number of inmates in custodial centres in the FCT”.
The NCoS boss, who reiterated that the issue of over-crowding in custodial centres nationwide were being addressed, said that certain measures were put in place to ensure that overcrowding was reduced to the barest minimum.
He said, “Recall that amnesty were granted to so many of our inmates during this period. Besides, there were no admission of new inmates until now that state authorities are able to fulfill some of our requirements for admission.
Ahmed said that the Minster of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had also sent letters to various state governors, urging them on the instructions of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The CG said, “We have also sent list of inmates awaiting trial that have spent 5 years and above to the Minister of Justice and I am sure they have transmitted that to their respective states for them to be attended to.
“So, it is an ongoing process and we hope that with the full implementation of the NCoS act 2019, especially the non-custodian service, we will see a reduced number of inmates because the issue of probation and parole may come into being.