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Govt set to review remand homes, borstal institution Act

From Olalekan Awojodu, Abuja

The Federal Government is set to reposition Borstal Institutions and Remand Homes, with the mandate to reform and reintegrate inmates, most especially children caught-up in the web of terrorist and violent extremist activities.

The review borders on Borstal Institution and Remand Centre Act.

Against the backdrop, the Ministry of Justice and other alongside the Presidential Committee on Correctional Reforms and Decongestion and the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) held a one-day stakeholder round session on the review.

The session, according to the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami was aimed at a reformatory and rehabilitative system that will guarantee the protection of children in conflict with the law in accordance with the internationally accepted standard.

AGF said, “The objectives of the review are two-fold. First is to bring the provisions of the Act in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, the Child Rights Act, 2003, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, as well as the Correctional Services Act of 2019.

The second objective of the review is to reflect current realities in terms of administrative structures and operational realities in present day Nigeria.

“The ultimate objective therefore is to bring the Borstal Act in line with international practices in a way that it will align with the best interest of the child requirements under the United Nation’s Child’s Right Convention.”

According to malami the necessity for the review became even more compelling in view of the ongoing developments regarding our children entangled in acts of terrorist activities.

Represented by Jedy-Agba, B. E (Mrs.)
Solicitor-General of The Federation
and Permanent Secretary, AGF said,” The Final draft Bill, which will emerge from your joint deliberations, will be presented by Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to the President for onward transmission to the National Assembly. ”

Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbeola in his goodwill message stated that on the assumption of duty was perturbed by the deplorable state of the bolster institutions vis – a – vis the constitutional rights of the children in custody and their rights as contained in the Child Rights Act.

However said, having taken a cursory look at the bill to be considered and saw that the innovative sections have been incorporated into the bill. ” They include the administration of the correctional institutions, trainings, skill acquisition and educational programmes, early release and after–care re-integration programmes,” he noted.

Also in a goodwill message, Comptroller General of NCoS, Haliru Aliru, stressed that “Nigeria, being a member of the international community, has ratified the convention on the rights and welfare of child (CRWC) and as such committed to establishing a reformatory and rehabilitative system that will guarantee the protection of children in conflict with the law in accordance with the internationally accepted standard.”

Aliru Specifically pointed out that in such reformative efforts, ” The new Act of 2019 has made provision for the Correctional Service to separate male and female Borstal Training Institutions for juvenile offenders in all.”

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