By G9ija

The Federal Government has expressed determination to recapture all fleeing inmates from correctional centres across the country, even as 465 are undertaking different degree programmes at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who disclosed this at State House press briefing on Thursday, in Abuja, explained that the degree programmes were part of the reformation and rehabilitation programmes for the inmates.

Aregbesola, at the briefing organised by the Presidential Media team, further explained that there were various ongoing reformation and education programmes for inmates in the nation’s custodial facilities.

He said that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), in partnership with the NOUN, had increased the number of Study Centers to 10 across Correctional formations in Abeokuta, Anambra, Enugu, Kaduna, Keffi, Kuje, Lafia, Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Umuahia.

“There are currently about 465 inmates running various degree programmes, 85 of the inmates are running Post – Graduate Degree programmes, while four are running PhD programmes within the custodial facilities.

“A total of 560 inmates have been enrolled for WAEC/NECO Examinations and 2,300 for Adult Literacy Classes in several Custodial Centers.

Additional Borstal Training Institutions for young offenders, male and female, are to be established in each State of the federation,” Aregbesola stated.

On escaped inmates from the NCoS, the minister assured Nigerians that “fleeing inmates have nowhere to hide as those still on the run cannot fully reintegrate into the society as all their biometric data have been captured and all other critical information needed to exist as a full citizen has been digitally secured.’’

Aregbesola revealed that his ministry had successfully captured the biometric information of all inmates in the facilities of NCoS working in partnership with the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

“Therefore, we have the capacity and are tracking all escapees from our facilities. In addition, we are working with and have shared the details of escapees with INTERPOL, to check the risks of cross border movements,” he added.

The minister further stated that 174,000 jobs have been created for Nigerians through the administration of Expatriate Quotas and Business Permits.

“Between 2019 and October 2021, over 87,000 expatriate quotas were granted, 951 business permits were granted and 598 licenses were issued to public places of worship for the conduct of statutory marriages.

“In addition, 174,000 understudy jobs have been created through the expatriate quota administration system.

“We recently inaugurated a Ministerial Task Force on the Monitoring of Expatriate Quota.

“The primary objective is to audit, monitor and enforce the conditions for the approval of expatriate quota and foreign business permit.

“Nigerians may wish to note that one of the conditions for the approval of Expatriate Quota is that for every expatriate position, the company must employ two Nigerians to understudy the expatriate,’’ he said.

Also at the event were the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr Shuaibu Belgore; Controller General of the Federal Fire Service, Ibrahim Liman; Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Abubakar Audi and the Controller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa.

Others were the acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, DCG Isa Jere and all directors from the ministry and other aides of the Minister.