From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja

The Federal Government, yesterday, said it has recaptured some of the inmates who fled the Suleja Custodial Centre, following the collapse of its perimeter fence during a downpour.

President Bola Tinubu had provided an intervention fund to renovate and rehabilitate nine correctional centres across the country.

Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, made the disclosure, in Abuja, when he inspected ongoing security projects at the Medium Security Custodial facility in Kuje, Abuja. He, however, did not disclose the number of inmates who were captured because of security reasons.

“On fleeing inmates, yes, we have recaptured a lot of people and work is actually going on. We are working with other sister agencies, but the details of that, I won’t be able to disclose in public, so as to avoid jeopardising the hard work of the agencies. We want to re-emphasise that it is no longer business as usual, but business unusual,” he said. He also stated that rehabilitation work is going on in all the correctional centres across the country, including Suleja Correctional Centre, where the government is building a 125-bed custodial centre.

“Even the Suleja that the walls came down, most people didn’t understand that we had already started rebuilding the walls, but because it is a correctional centre, we can’t bring down all the walls at the same time for rehabilitation.

We need to do that in segments. We are building a 125-bed custodial centre beside the current centre in Suleja, to be able to solve the problem of overcrowding. We are putting in everything to make sure that our correctional centres are safe and foolproof to attacks, while we are also taking care of the welfare of the inmates,” he said.

Tunjo-Ojo disclosed that the federal government has released an intervention fund for the renovation of all custodial centres.

Related News

“The government would install solar lights across the premises to provide illumination at night. It will equally provide Information Technology and Communication (ICT) and other internal structures. We thank President Bola Tinubu for the intervention fund that he provided for us to be able to achieve this. As you can see, the perimeter fencing is completed. What we are doing now is installing solar lights across the premises all round and better illumination.

“Basically, it is not just about Kuje. I am happy to tell you that about nine of our custodial centres are being worked on, not just the fencing, but even the ICT components and other internal structures.”

In the next couple of weeks, we are very optimistic that there will be a complete turnaround for Kuje, which is going to be like a model for all other centres.

“This is to show you that the Renewed Hope Agenda of the president cares about everybody, including our inmates and making custodial centres ‘correctional’ and not condemnation centres. We are not just renovating, putting infrastructure, but even in terms of the skills, you could see our poultry and others. The service has diversified into producing most of the food that the inmates eat, making them to rely less in terms of purchases,” he said.

On April 25, 2024, over 199 inmates of the security custodial centre, Suleja, Niger State, fled the premises when the walls fell down following a  downpour.

In a statement, Deputy Superintendent of Corrections and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command Public Relations Officer, AS Duza, attributed the incident to a downpour that lasted several hours on the night of Wednesday, April 24, 2024.

Duza said the rain wreaked havoc on the Medium Security Custodial Centres, Suleja, Niger State, as well as the surrounding buildings, destroying parts of the custodial facility, including its perimetre fence, giving way to the escape of a total of 119  inmates.