Over 54,000 inmates awaiting trial in Nigeria – NCS

DATA from the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) have shown that 54,141 inmates await trial in Nigeria.

The number represents 69 per cent of inmates in the nation’s prisons.

To await trial means the court has yet to pass its final verdict on the crime committed. Hence, the alleged criminal is remanded until a judgment is passed. 

The data show that as of December 11, 2023, the number of inmates was 78,446, of which 24,305 had been convicted.

The number of inmates increased by 2,937 in December 2023 from 75,509 reported in December 2022. 

By gender, the total number of male inmates is 76,670, while females are 1,776.

According to a report, at least 1,317 people have been pardoned by the federal and state governments between January 2022 and early December 2023.

Male Female
Convicted 23,870 435
Awaiting trial 52,800 1,341
Total 76,670 1,776


Last month, the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo,  flagged off the release of 4,068 inmates sentenced to various terms with the option of a fine.

According to Ojo, as of November 17, 2023, there were about 80,804 inmates in 253 custodial facilities nationwide, which could hold not more than 50,000.

He said, “The Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje, where 37 of the beneficiary inmates were released, has the installed capacity to hold 560 inmates, but currently, a total of 730 inmates are being held there.”

Ojo equally called on the United Nations to support the country’s efforts at reforming its correctional service and decongesting its custodial facilities, adding that only five per cent of inmates in the correctional centres could be released with the N585 million it had raised from philanthropic individuals, groups, and corporate bodies to release the inmates.



    The ICIR findings in the 2024 proposed budget submitted by the Federal Government showed that the NCS has a capital expenditure of N13.91 billion of the total N120.63 billion allocated.  This means the NCS will spend more of its budget (88.5 per cent) on personnel and overhead costs, while capital projects take 11.5 per cent. 

    A look through some of the capital projects is the ongoing construction of 3000 capacity maximum security prison in Abuja with N700.87 million, the construction and rehabilitation of custodial centres and barracks nationwide with N7.70 billion, the construction of four 3000-capacity maximum security custodial centres in four states with N1.86 billion among others.

    The ICIR reported how the federal government budgeted N22.44 billion for feeding inmates in 2023.

    This organisation also reported how Gashua Correctional Facility in Yobe state remained uncompleted 40 years after the Federal Government had budgeted billions on it.

    Kehinde Ogunyale tells stories by using data to hold power into account. You can send him a mail at [email protected] or Twitter: Prof_KennyJames

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