The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and minister of justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) as well as the Attorneys-General of the States, have been cautioned to ensure that the inmates whose fines are to be paid are well assessed and ascertained that they actually have the option to pay fines in the judgments convicting them.
A senior legal adviser to Osun state commissioner for justice, Debo Oladinni, gave the advice in a letter to the minister of interior, and his counterpart in the justice ministry regarding the plan by government to spend N500 million in paying fines for 4,000 inmates.
Minister of interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo had made the announcement as part of efforts to decongest the Nigeria correctional centres.
In response, Oladinni hailed the development but cautioned against abuse of the process.
He advised the minister of interior to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure that each inmate is assessed mentally, psychologically, and physically before reintegrating them into the society.
For the integration programme to be effective, he suggested that the 4,000 inmates should be released in manageable batches of 1,000 for effective rehabilitation/societal reintegration, which should be for a period not less than three months.
He advised the government to source for funds from the private sector to facilitate a watertight rehabilitation/reintegration programme for the inmates.
“The Inmates’ Training and Productivity (ITP) Directorate of the Nigerian Correctional Service should endeavour to arrange a special training reintegration programme for the 4,000 inmates prior to their reintegration into the society,” Oladinni advised.