The FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Aliyu, has forfeited her May 2020 salary to secure the immediate release of five inmates who could not pay for their fines at the Kuje Correctional Service.
The Minister made the donation while felicitating with the inmates as part of activities to celebrate this year’s Eid el-Fitr.
Aliyu, in a statement by her Special Assistant on Media, Austine Elemue, on Tuesday in Abuja said the donation would further go a long way to decongest the Correctional Service already overcrowded with inmates in view of COVID-19 pandemic.
She assured the inmates that the FCT Administration would take further legal steps to see to the decongestion of the Kuje Correctional Service.
Aliyu described the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, as a God fearing man and a man with the heart of gold who believed in good governance.
She said: “I will not only support the reduction, but I will also lend my voice in the reduction of prison inmates by picking up some bills.
“I will carry out the campaign and speak to well meaning Nigerians because you cannot leave the burden of good governance to government alone.
“We know that some of you are awaiting trial, we know that some have not been tried at all, but provided there is law, we will not be lawless.
“We will go by the law and get in well meaning Nigerians and pay up the fines. This will also go a long way to reduce the number, besides government pronouncements.
“Government pronouncement as we all know do not come easily in every nation.
“If government pronouncement comes very easily, then definitely, the name correctional centre will be misplaced. We know Mr President recently spoke our minds when he spoke about the need to decongest our prisons.
“And I know my minister, a God fearing man, and a man with a heart of gold, he will certainly send message across. God willing, FCT administration will make moves to decongest our prison based on merit.
“I in my own capacity, I stand here personally on this Sallah day, I want to donate my salary for the release of 5 inmates.”
Aliyu affirmed that the correctional service had been positioned to refine the inmates in the rebuilding of a better society, noting that they could make the best out of the experiences gained at the service.
She said: “There are times in our life that we erred, but to err is human, and to forgive is divine.
“There are times in our life that we are put to test, sometimes, we pass the test, sometimes we fail.
“For various reasons, we may have found ourselves at the correctional centre. But you know what, you can make the best out of it.
“As we appreciate you, we pray for you to come out to be better citizens that will give us a Nigeria of our dreams.
“Somebody else cannot give us Nigeria of our dreams and you cannot give us Nigeria of our dreams from outside, you can only give us Nigeria of our dream from within and I know you are already at the preparatory stage.
“When you leave here either by amnesty or whatever pronouncements, you can only become better citizens.”
Earlier, the Comptroller, Correctional Service, FCT Command, Mustapha Atta, who commended the minister for her visit, expressed displeasure over the number of inmates awaiting trial.
Attah revealed that 70 per cent of the inmates are on awaiting trial list, adding that Kuje correctional service with a capacity of 560 inmates now accommodates no fewer than 866 inmates.
He appealed to relevant authorities to work toward the decongestion of the correctional service.
The minister donated 250 packs of cooked jollof rice, 500 bottles of soft drinks, 500 bottles of table water, 1000 face masks, 50 bags of rice, 50 cartons of spaghetti and 100 cartons of indoomie noodles to the inmates.