Real reason FG will relocate Ikoyi prison, others – Minister

The Federal Government, FG, is set to initiate the relocation of Ikoyi prison and other correctional facilities from urban centers to more suitable areas, according to Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo.

This announcement was made during an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today program on Thursday.

Tunji-Ojo highlighted the impact of urbanization on the setbacks required around correctional centres.

“Urbanization has encroached upon the buffer zones meant to surround correctional facilities,” he noted.

He emphasized that under the current administration, there have been no attacks on prisons, aside from an incident at the Suleja facility, which dates back to 1914. “President Tinubu inherited 256 correctional centers needing urgent attention. Overhauling them entirely within a year is unrealistic,” he stated.

The minister cited the Suleja correctional center as an example, where urban encroachment has left it merely seven meters away from the nearest house, contrary to the legal requirement of a 100-meter buffer. “Ikoyi Correctional Centre, for instance, is sharing a fence with another property. What is a correctional center doing in Ikoyi? This administration aims to initiate the process of possibly relocating these facilities,” he added.

Tunji-Ojo also announced plans to conduct an “inmate audit” across the 256 correctional centers, aiming to release those unjustly detained. He acknowledged the inherited state of dilapidated facilities and noted that the government has begun renovations and rebuilding efforts.

“We’ve renovated over 10 correctional centers under this administration,” he said, mentioning significant improvements at the Kuje correctional center.

Ikoyi prison, established in 1955, is situated in the upscale Ikoyi area on Lagos Island. During the #EndSARS protests in October 2020, inmates attempted a jailbreak, which was thwarted by security forces.

In recent years, Nigeria has experienced multiple jailbreaks, leading to numerous inmates escaping custody.

 

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