The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has expressed the need to have a 12-month trial for inmates at the Nigerian Correctional Centres as a means to decongest the overcrowded facilities.
He said the increasing number of inmates awaiting trial is having a toll on the custodian centres and the available resources for the service.
Aregbesola suggested that the period between a suspect’s arrest and the conclusion of their legal proceedings should not exceed a year and attributed the congestion in jails to the delayed administration of justice.
Speaking on Tuesday on day two of the Nigerian Correctional Service retreat for senior officers in Sokoto, the minister said, “Let there be strong advocacy for rapid dispensation of justice. When I went to court to get my mandate that was stolen in Osun the process lasted 42 months. It was precisely six months to the expiration of the tenure that my mandate was returned.
“It was that experience that forced the judiciary to say every litigation on governorship election must not last more than a year and since then they have kept to it. To reduce the number of inmates awaiting trial we must ensure that the time from arrest to conviction must not go beyond a year.
“If this is done, we will reduce the large percentage of inmates in our correctional centres. We will also be able to reduce the humongous cost of feeding them and the lack of not having enough resources.
“If we can reduce the number of awaiting trial inmates by cutting short the period of trial to a maximum of 12 months the amount we are going to save from feeding them will be enough to revamp the service and our centres.”