The Presidential Committee on Correctional Reform and Decongestion has released 122 children from the Borstal Training Institute in Ilorin, Kwara state.
The committee led by its chairperson, Ishaq Bello, the immediate-past and Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, facilitated the release of the children during their visit to the borstal institution Weekend.
The Federal Ministry of Justice, represented on the committee, had, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), deployed a Technical Team of 10 persons to the Borstal Training Institute, Ilorin.
Deputy Director of Information at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja, Modupe Ogundoro, said in a statement Sunday that the technical team conducted an on-the- spot assessment of the conditions of the juveniles.
The statement said the team assessed a total of 225 students of the institution.
From the document made available by the institute to the team, it noted that there were discrepancies in the admission of children to the facility, which flouted the purpose for which it was established.
Bello, who was quoted to have frowned at the living condition of the children, noted that the institute was congested due to non-compliance with laid down entry qualification for admission.
He reminded authorities of the institute that it was established as a “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 that the institute also housed underage children and adult, among which are in secondary school, undergraduates and graduates.
“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 forms of charges such as truancy, theft, drunkenness, drug addiction and those who were beyond parental control.
The team said out of the children released, two of them who performed excellently in their West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations were encouraged with a scholarship award to tertiary institution by the Federal Ministry of Justice.
In her remarks, the acting director, Administration of Criminal Justice and Reform/ Secretary to the Committee, Leticia Ayoola-Daniels, said the visit to the institute was aimed at providing psychological support to the assessed juveniles for proper re-integration into the society.