Sallah: Minister forfeits salary to secure release of five inmates
Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, on Tuesday, announced the forfeiture of her May salary to secure the immediate release of five inmates who could not pay their fines at the Kuje Correctional Service.
According to a statement by her Special Assistant, Media, Austine Elemue, and made available to newsmen in Abuja, the minister made the donation while felicitating with the inmates as part of activities to celebrate this year’s Sallah day.
Tribune Online reports that she said she would not only support the reduction but will also lend her voice in the reduction of prison inmates by picking up some bills, promising to carry out the campaign and speak to well-meaning Nigerians so as not to leave the burden of good governance to the 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 a 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 does not come easily in any 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 talked 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 pass the message across.
God willing, FCT Administration will make moves to decongest our prisons 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.” She added.
The minister said the donation would further go a long way to decongest the Correctional Service already overcrowded with inmates in view of COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, the Comptroller of Correctional Service, FCT Command, Mustapha Illiyasu Atta, while commending the minister for her visit, however, expressed displeasure over the number of inmates awaiting trial, revealing that 70 per cent of the inmates are awaiting trial list.
Atta also used the occasion to reveal that the Kuje Correctional Service with a capacity of 560 inmates, now accommodates no fewer than 866 inmates, while appealing to relevant authorities to work towards the decongestion of Correctional Service.
Items donated include 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 Indomie noodles.