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Presidential committee releases 122 children from Ilorin borstal home

By Olalekan Awojodu, Abuja

A total number of 122 children have been released from the Borstal Training Institute, Ilorin, Kwara State by the order of the Presidential Committee on Correctional Reform and Decongestion.

The Committee led by its Chairman and former Chief Judge of FCT High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello had in furtherance of its mandate, facilitated the release of the children during their visit to the Borstal Institute.

Out of the children released, 2 of them who performed excellently well in their WAEC examinations were encouraged with education Scholarship award to Tertiary Institution by the Federal Ministry of Justice.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry Deputy Director Information
Modupe Ogundoro, the Federal Ministry of Justice had in collaboration with UNODC and UNICEF deployed a Technical Team of 10 persons to the Borstal Institute, Ilorin, at the end of which about 225 students of the Institution were assessed by the team.

Bello who frowned at the living condition and welfare of the children noted that the Institute was congested due to non-compliance with the laid down entry qualification for admission.

During the visit, the Committee observed from the document made available by the Institute, that there were discrepancies in the admission of children to the Institute which flouted the purpose for which it was established.

He reminded that the institute was established as reformation and rehabilitation Centre to accommodate children between the ages of 16 to 21 years and not to be used as dumping ground.

The Committee found out that the Institute also housed underaged children and adult, among which are in secondary school, undergraduates and graduates.

According to him, “The qualifying age of admission is 16- 21 years. Anybody above 24 years has outgrown their stay and not fit for the Institute. It is a breach of extant law establishing the Institute”.

He noted that most children were brought to the Institute by their parents on various charges such as truancy, theft, drunkenness, drug addiction and also those who are beyond parental control.

Also, considerations for release were given to the underage, old age and those with threatening health challenges.

In a brief remarks, the Acting Director, Administration of Criminal Justice and Reform/ Secretary to the Committee, Mrs. Leticia Ayoola-Daniels said that the visit to the Institute was aimed at providing psychological support to the assessed juveniles for proper re-integration into the society when released in the near future.

Earlier in her welcome address, the Controller of Corrections/ Principal, Borstal Training Institute, Mrs. Ishola Martina Ola noted that the mandate of the institution was primarily to ensure safe custody of the children.

She explained that while the boys are in custody, it is expected that they are reformed, rehabilitated and eventually returned to the society as positively changed individuals who should be useful to themselves and the society.

At the end of the program, essential packs like mattresses, towels, antibacterial creams, educational books, writing materials and inspirational books were donated to the boys at the Institute.

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