The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has commended the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, for his active role in the establishment of correctional service reforms and decongestion across the federation.
UNICEF Country Representative, Peter J.F Hawkins, appreciated the AGF on Tuesday, in a Zoom event hosted by the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Presidential Committee on Correctional Service Reforms in collaboration with UNICEF.
The event, which was monitored by our correspondent, was tagged “Implementing Amnesty and Decongestion Programme for Juveniles Deprived of The Liberty during Covid-19 Pandemic and Beyond.”
Hawkins stressed that the Agency observed improvements in the country’s correctional service operations, particularly under Malami’s watch.
He also used the opportunity to call for the release of children who are in detention for one reason or the other.
“We commend you the Attorney General and Minister of Justice for your leadership of the presidential correctional service reform and decongestion program.
“On this initiative, it embarked on a national program to review the conditions of detention of juveniles in various correctional facilities across the country.
“About 7,000 inmates were released as a result of the impressive work of the presidential committee and this validates the notion that if amnesty, decongestion is good for adults, it should be considered good for children particularly a great number of their population who ordinarily should not be in detention,” he said.
In his opening speech, Malami maintained that the federal government was passionate about reforming and decongesting correctional centers nationwide.
“This event is one among a set of other strategic events of the Federal Ministry of Justice geared towards effective implementation of the Federal Executive Council’s mandate to decongest the correctional service centres.
“You may recall that the Federal Ministry of Justice in partnership with the Ministry of Interior and the Presidential Committee on Correctional Service Reform and Decongestion embarked on a nationwide decongestion exercise…,” he said.
Malami said that going forward, the federal government was also looking at doing all that is required to among other things, “support children currently in the custodial settings to reclaim their childhood through proactive and child sensitive justice system.”
Also, he called on the AGFs across various states to send in their juvenile lists for consideration.
“I must especially thank the Attorney Generals of Kogi, Kaduna, Edo, Ebonyi, Anambra, Delta and Zamfara for submitting their juvenile list in good time and I use this opportunity to encourage other states to forward their respective lists within the week for a collaborative effort towards the success of this juvenile decongestion program.
“At this juncture, I must appreciate the contributions of various justice sector stakeholders including the Presidential Committee on Correctional Service Reform and Decongestion, the Correctional and Reform Unit of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, and the Nigerian Correctional Service and other relevant justice sector stakeholders for their consistent support and dedication to national service for the effective execution of the mandate of correctional centers nationwide,” he said.