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FG Plans Relocation Of 200-Year-Old Keffi Prison

Tunji Ojo

Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo

The Tinubu-led Federal Government has announced plans to relocate the over 200-year-old Medium Security Custodial Centre in Keffi, Nasarawa State.

Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, disclosed this during a tour to inspect the aging and overcrowded facility, which has seen recent rehabilitation efforts, including the construction of new perimeter fencing.

While inspecting the new Medium Security Custodial Centre established in 1820 and located within Keffi town, Dr. Tunji-Ojo expressed concern over the high inmate population.

The Keffi custodial centre, originally built to house 340 inmates, now holds 750 inmates, with 605 of them awaiting trial.

During his earlier inspection of the ongoing construction of a 3,000-capacity Custodial Centre in Karshi, Abuja, Tunji-Ojo voiced some reservations about the location.

He noted that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) and the Interior Ministry would deliberate on potential solutions.

He emphasized, “Our correctional centres have evolved from prisons to Correctional Services, requiring a shift in ideology from incarceration to transformation, reformation, and correction.”

Dr. Tunji-Ojo noted that upon returning to the office, discussions with the NCoS would focus on addressing the concerns raised.

“In Keffi, the custodial centres are highly populated, with over 1,000 inmates across the two correctional centres, Keffi New and Keffi Old. We observed the perimeter fencing, as we want to avoid incidents like the one in Suleja, Niger State,” he stated.

The Minister highlighted the government’s investment in perimeter fencing, transitioning from barbed wire to concrete fencing, to enhance security.

Dr. Tunji-Ojo remarked, “We have 256 correctional centres, many of which have been around for over 100 years. The Keffi centre, dating back to 1820, illustrates the need for modernization. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu did not become president 200 years ago.”

He stressed the importance of addressing the impact of urbanization, as civilian houses now share fences with the Keffi Correctional Centre.

The Minister suggested relocating the old facility to the new Keffi site to ensure sustainability.

“We need to think about relocation due to urbanization. We are putting plans in motion to upgrade the facility and build more at Keffi New to accommodate the inmates from Keffi Old,” Dr. Tunji-Ojo concluded.