Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola yesterday requested governors to sign the death warrants of convicts on death row who have exhausted all avenues of appeal to free up space in the nation’s correctional facilities.
According to Aregbesola, “There are presently 3,008 condemned criminals waiting for their date with the executioners in our meagre custodial facilities. This consists of 2,952 males and 56 females.
“In cases where an appeal has been exhausted and the convicts are not mounting any challenge to their conviction, the state should go ahead, to do the needful and bring closure to their cases.”
The minister said the nation’s correctional facilities have capacity for 57,278 inmates but that they currently hold a total of 68,747 inmates, made up of 67,422 males and 1,325 females, stating that 50,992 inmates, 74 per cent of these are awaiting trial, while only 17,755 inmates, which is a mere 26 per cent, are the actual convicts.
Governors, he said were at liberty to free some of the condemned inmates, particularly those who have grown old on account of the long time they have been in these facilities and those that are terminally ill.
He said the federal government would build more correctional facilities to cover the six geo-political zones of the country, in addition to the 3,000 high-capacity custodial centre it is building in Kano and Rivers states, as well as Abuja.
This new additions, the minister said would decongest the overpopulated correctional centres to enable them play their reformative roles.