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Minister threatens to sack corrupt correctional service officials

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The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, on Wednesday said any controller of the Nigeria Correctional Service caught receiving money to lock up a poor man without a detention warrant would be expelled.

The minister who lamented that correctional facility controllers were abusing their powers, vowed that under his watch, the freedom of the poor would not be denied.

The minister said this on Tuesday in Abuja during his presentation at the International Donor Round Table on Correctional Service Reform organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

This was contained in a statement by the Minister’s Media Adviser,  Babatunde Alao, on Wednesday.

It partly read, “On abuse of power by correctional facility controllers, which has in recent years become a commonplace practice, the minister who frowned at such development noted that the Renewed Hope Aenda of the President was set to clamp down and expel anyone caught in the act.

“Any controller caught taking money from a big man to lock up a poor man without a detention warrant will be expelled from the service.

“We are here to fill in the gap for the weakest in the society. We are here, as a government, to be the voice of the voiceless, and the strength of the weakest. Never again should the freedom of anybody be taken away based on his weakness.”

The minister also said decongesting the correctional facilities demands the urgent attention of the government, civil society groups, and international communities.

He said, “There is a lot to do in the area of decongesting our correctional facilities. From our audits, we have too many inmates who are awaiting trials. We also have many others who are illegally detained.

“With over 80,000 inmates, we were able to decongest by only 5 per cent with the N585 million fines we cleared on Saturday. Today, we seek the support of the United Nations as there is an urgent need for government, civil society groups, and the international communities to contribute their quota to re-engineering the system.”

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