HOW TO ESTABLISH AND CLASSIFY CUSTODIAL CENTERS (PRISONS) IN NIGERIA.* Daily Law Tips (Tip 474) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK)

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Ever thought of how custodial centers (prisons/detention centers) are made in Nigeria. As stated in my previous publications, detention centres (cells, guard rooms) in religious centers, estates, palaces and government houses are illegal. Yes, not every government/security agency’s building is a lawful custodial/detention center. Below is how lawful custodial centers are made in Nigeria.

First of all, Custodial Center is a place where individuals sentenced by the court requiring imprisonments are kept or those remanded in custody by the order of the court are kept and means same thing with “Custodial Facility”.

The Minister in charge of Nigerian Correctional Services (formerly, Nigerian Prisons Service) is to declare via a Federal Government Gazette, any public building with requisite facilities in an appropriate location within Nigeria as a Custodial Center including its landmass and environs. Such building must have good sleeping accommodation that meets all health requirements and also have adequate floor space, lighting, ventilation, water and sanitation amenities. Such building being declared as custodial centre encompasses the ground and buildings within its enclosure.

As from 2019, No structure can be erected within 100 meters of the outer limit of any custodial centre land as designated by the beacon in the survey plan. Also, the Minister must declare the category of each custodial center in Nigeria via a Federal Government Gazette.

My authorities are sections 9, 46 and 47 of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019.

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