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FG demands immediate decongestion of prisons

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By Abiodun Okunloye

New vehicles and controller promotions will improve correctional facilities.

In accordance with the Nigerian Correctional Service Act 2019, the federal government has directed the urgent decongestion of correctional facilities all over the country to minimize overpopulation. The Minister of the Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, issued the directive at a ceremony in Abuja to honor 13 newly promoted Assistant Controller Generals (ACGs) and 57 Controllers of the service, as well as the unveiling of 30 operational vehicles. He stated that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) should initiate dialogue with state governments regarding how to urgently decongest the centers due to the recent increase in inmates.

Dr. Shuaib Belgore, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Interior who represented him, congratulated the newly promoted officials and urged Haliru Nababa, the NCoS’s Controller General, to issue directives to all correctional facility controllers to reduce inmate population levels, as required by law. He emphasized that everyone strives for a more humane correctional system where inmates can develop their full potential and pursue their lifelong goals. Because the inmates are human beings like every other person, and the service is responsible for providing comfort during their stay.

With the state of facility congestion, the service can reject inmates.

He instructed state prison administrators to minimize overcrowding by whatever means necessary, including refusing new inmates if the facility was already at maximum. To strengthen his assertion, he cites subsection 8 of section 12 of the Nigerian Correctional service Act 2019 as amended, which says that “without prejudice to subsection 4, the state controller of correctional service in conjunction with the superintendent, shall have the power to reject more intakes of inmates where it is apparent that the correctional center in question is filled to capacity.”

Thus, he advised that they follow the Act as a way of making sure that the correctional centers are decongested, as the continuous building of correctional facilities across the nation will make this goal inevitably attainable. He emphasized the initiative to decongest prisons by building additional facilities in Kano as well as Karshi in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), not merely to house inmates but also to provide an excellent infrastructure for them, enhance their living environment, and promote skill acquisition in a favorable learning atmosphere that will facilitate inmates’ rehabilitation back into the community.

Another outstanding achievement recorded by the NCoS.

Controller General Haliru Nababa noted that the NCoS had reached yet another big achievement with the promotion and commissioning of operational vehicles that had been customized and designated to transport Armed Guards for various operational obligations in the protection of custodial centers and safe housing of inmates. He explained that the Interior Minister, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, and the whole Civil Defense, Fire, Corrections, and Immigration Board are fully behind the agency’s efforts to make the promotions a reality because they believe that promoting the senior officers will bring in new perspectives and re-energize the service’s workforce for maximum performance.

Similarly, he extended his congratulations to the individuals who had been promoted on their success in climbing to these prestigious ranks. They always look forward to events like this as an organization because they represent expansion and long-term viability in the system. They are really excited about the future. Under his management, he said that the welfare of personnel and inmates had remained a primary concern. He stated that this is the driving force behind his dedication to the provision of additional staff accommodation as well as improved living conditions for inmates.

The promotion will encourage the officers to do more.

Lastly, ACG Lydia Abraham, one of the recently promoted senior officers, said the promotion represents a reliance by the service and the country to continue to improve the nation and demonstrate strong dedication to the trust instilled in all those promoted. ACG Abraham, who is also the Correctional Cooperative Society (COCOS) General Manager, explained that being promoted to the post of assistant controller general is indeed a challenge to higher responsibility and requires her to go beyond what she has done before. She advised all female officers, not to allow anybody to bully them because there are a lot of possibilities within their positions.

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