FG may relocate Ikoyi, other prisons – Minister

The federal government says it may relocate Ikoyi prison and some of other correctional centres from urban areas in the country.

According to the minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, urbanisation has eaten into the setbacks that ought to be around correctional centres in the country.

“Under this administration, we’ve not had any jail attack; what we’ve had was force majeure which was Suleja because that particular correctional centre was built in 1914. It’s about 110 years old,” the minister said in an interview with ChannelsTV on Thursday evening.

He continued: “President Tinubu was not President a 110 years old. He inherited 256 correctional centres that needed attention. There is no way he would have completely overhaul it in one year.

“I must talk about urbanisation. Look at Suleja for example, the Suleja Correctional Centre that came down was only 7 metres away from the next house. Instead of what the law says which is a buffer space of 100 metres. So, urbanisation has eaten deep.

“Look at Ikoyi Correctional Centre sharing a fence with (another house). What’s (a) correctional centre doing in Ikoyi? This administration is looking at being able to initiate the process of possibly relocating some of these correctional centres.”

He hinted that the government would soon commence “inmate audit” across the 256 correctional centres in the country and sanitise them by freeing those who don’t have any business being there in the first instance.

Tunji-Ojo said President Bola Tinubu inherited so many old correctional centres that need attention but the government has started the renovation and rebuilding of some of the prisons in Nigeria.

“We’ve renovated over 10 correctional centres under this administration. The government has done magic in the Kuje correctional centre,” the minister added.

On the problem of “awaiting trial cases” the minister said: “We want to go to all 256 correctional facilities, count the heads, and look at their records so we know who has no business being there.”

The Ikoyi prison, built in 1955, is located in the highbrow Ikoyi area on the Lagos Island.

In October 2020, in the heat of the #EndSARS protest against police brutality and its attendant ripples, inmates tried to take advantage of the tension in the country.

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