From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) at the weekend put the total number of female inmates held in its facilities at 1050 as against their male counterparts numbering 68905 inmates across the country.
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According to NCoS, the figure of female inmates represent less than 1.5 per cent of the total figure.
In a statement, the Controller of Corrections and Public Relations Officer of the agency, Mr Francis Enobore, said that the large number of male inmates was the reason for overcrowding and chaos in the male custodial centres.
He dispelled the rumours of alleged papering of the female inmates, saying the management of the centres was quite sensitive to the plight of inmates and their families and would not indulge in anything that would undermine their wellbeing.
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The statement read in part: “It was also insinuated that male inmates were deliberately kept in squalor, compared to the female custodial centres generally adjudged to be exceptionally clean. It is no longer news that females account for less than 1.5 per cent of the total inmates’ population of about 70,000 in the country. Therefore, overcrowding and attendant chaos are exclusively found in male custodial centres due to pressure on the infrastructure.
“The NCoS is quite sensitive to the plight of victims and their families and will never indulge in anything to undermine this. The Service believes that controlled social engagements do not interfere with the trial of cases in court as activities within custodial centres have no bearing with the evidence needed for cases to be tried.
The NCoS gave the details against the backdrop of bad blood generated by the report that a woman (Chidinma Ojukwu) who is facing trial for the murder of Usifo Ataga won a beauty contest while in custody.
Ataga was the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV. The contest generated uproar across the country.
“While identifying with the Atagas in their moment of grief, the NCoS wishes to state, without equivocation, that it will do everything within its power to assist the course of justice in unveiling those behind the dastardly act,” he said.