Judiciary blamed for prison congestion
The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) has blamed the judiciary for the congestion of its custodian facilities, formerly referred to as prison yards, in the country.
Controller General (CG) of the service, Ja’afaru Ahmed, explained that his office could only address a fraction of the issue of congestion due to the complex nature of bureaucracy surrounding the matter.He told The Guardian in Abuja that if the service could not present awaiting trial inmates in court when due, that’s when it would be held responsible.
According to him, if for any reason action is not expedited on the side of the judiciary for quick dispensation of justice, the service cannot be blamed for keeping inmates who keep piling up by the day in its facilities.
Speaking through the service’s spokesman, Francis Enobere, the CG noted that there were cases of warders being dismissed for smuggling unwanted items such as drugs, communication gadgets and other prohibited items behind the walls.
“The authorities do not condone acts that would jeopardise the act that set up the NCS,” he said.On recent reports of unprofessional conduct of some of its personnel across the country, Ahmed stated that the service would deepen its disciplinary measures against errand staff.He said it was as a result of NCS’s commitment to its obligation to the citizens that the Federal Government increased the service’s budget, hence the level of upgrade of its facilities.
Said he, “Hardly would you not sight significant infrastructural project going on in any of our facilities across the nation. Specifically, this administration conceptualised having 3,000 correctional capacity facilities.”With no deliberate programme by the government to reduce crime level, even when some countries are closing down prison yards due to low crime rates, Ahmed insisted that his office was living up to its bidding to address the issue of congestion.
“The facility in Kano is almost at the verge of completion. The one for North Central has just taken off in Karshi, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and another in Bonny in Rivers State. The 1,901 structures in Kano are being replaced with new ones,” he added.
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