‘Prison Doesn’t Reform People,’ Williams Lauds Assent To Correctional Service Act

'Prison Doesn't Reform People,' Williams Lauds Assent To Correctional Service Act
Bishop Kayode Williams

 

 

The Director-General of Prison Rehabilitation Mission International (PREMI), Bishop Kayode Williams, has commended the presidential assent to the Nigeria Correctional Services Act.

According to him, there is a powerful force behind President Muhammadu Buhari’s action, particularly the renaming of the Nigerian Prisons Service to Nigeria Correctional Service.

“Prison doesn’t reform people, they will tell you their duty is to reform. How will they reform?” the clergyman questioned on Thursday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.


He said, “When you talk of prison, prison is confinement where people are kept for custody and if you look at the crest of the prison service, you will see keys as their symbol – two keys which show that the main target of the prison officers is to open and lock a prisoner.

“When you talk about correctional service, you want to educate the people. You don’t just lock them, keep them there; you want to reform them, you want to change their way of life before, you sincerely want to believe that these people can become productive. Because it is no more prison now, I am a happy man today.”

A Five-Star Hotel

Bishop Williams, however, said the implementation of the Act should not just be about the change of name but affect the operations of the service as a whole.

He noted that he was once in Netherlands and Poland where prisons were closed down and turned into “a five-star hotel”.

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A file photo of President Buhari signing a document.

 

 

The PREMI DG said there is a need to train prison officers who are now correctional workers and sensitise them on issues of correctional services.

“It is different from the system they are coming from and that is why I’m congratulating the President for taking the bull by the horn, it’s not easy,” he noted.

The cleric added, “I am telling you that the aim of the prison authority is to keep a criminal behind the bar and lock him up like an animal in the zoo because they believe he cannot do well, he is sent here to be punished for the wrong he has done.

“But when you say correctional, you are sending the inmate to a correctional service. There’s nobody that cannot change, you need somebody who can show the face of a human being in talking to an offender.

“He has offended, he has done wrong, he has been a killer before, he has done so many evil things; but you want to change him, two wrongs cannot make a right. You cannot just chain him down, chain his hands, push food to him. A correctional officer will sit down with an inmate and talk to him.”

The society, according to Bishop Williams, keeps the convicted fellows off from the system which makes them hardened.

He urged the government to address the issue, stressing that the public needed to be sensitised about discriminating against ex-convicts.


The bishop noted that he once served a jail term for about a decade, reiterating that the presidential assent to the Act has given him joy.

“I have been in prison for 10 years and that is why I’m happy today that in my lifetime, the name prison can be removed and a correctional institute substituted by Mr President.

“The bill that was signed into law by Mr President yesterday (Wednesday) was categorised into two categories. There is going to be segregation now that it is a correctional institute because you cannot be correcting an awaiting trial.

“A man who is not guilty is still on trial, why should you mingle him with hardened offenders? You are first of all going to try him so there is going to be a segregation of inmates,” said Bishop Williams.

Prison Service Promotes 10,979 Officers And Men

Prison, Nigerian Prisons ServiceThe Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Services Board (CDFIPB) has approved the promotion of 4,075 qualified officers and men of the Nigerian Prisons Service on Consolidated Paramilitary Salary Structure (CONPASS) 08 to 15.

A statement by the spokesman for Prisons, DCP Francis Enobore, disclosed that the elevation included officers on lateral conversion from inspectorate cadre to officers’ cadre due to acquisition of additional qualifications.

It added that the Controller-General of Prisons, Ja’afaru Ahmed, also approved the promotion of 6,904 other ranks, including those elevated from Prisons Assistant cadre to the inspectorate cadre.

“The categories of affected officers in the promotion exercise include: 609 Senior officers, 352 Principal Inspectors of Prisons (PIP) to Chief Inspectors of Prisons (CIP); 2,435 Inspectors of Prisons (IP) to Senior Inspectors (SIP); 133 Lateral Conversion from inspectorate to officers’ cadre; 546 Up – grading (Inspector to Assistant Superintendent) and 1,039 Assistant Inspector of Prisons ( AIP) to Inspectors of Prisons (IP).

“The promoted ranks include: 120 Prisons Assistant Cadre to Inspectors Cadre (acquisition of additional qualifications); 1,812 Senior Prisons Assistant (SPA) to Chief Prisons Assistant (CPA), 1,548Prisons Assistant 1 (PA1) to Senior Prisons Assistant (SPA); 2,195 Prisons Assistant 11 (PA11) to Prisons Assistant (PA1) and 190 Prisons Assistant 111 (PA111) to Prisons Assistant 11 (PA11),” the statement read.

The Prisons boss, while congratulating the successful officers, enjoined them to justify the confidence reposed in them as not only worthy of the promotion but capable of handling the responsibilities associated with the new ranks.

Plateau Residents Assured Of Hitch Free Eid-el-Kabir Celebration

Eid-El-Kabir-Security-PlateauSecurity agencies in Plateau State have assured its citizens of a peaceful and hitch free Eid-el-Kabir celebrations in spite of rumours of impending attack on the state.

The Commander of the Special Taskforce “Operation Safe Haven”, Major General Rogers Nicholas, gave the assurance after a town hall meeting with officials of road transport workers, community leaderships and market operators.

Subsequent to the meeting, Major General Nicholas led the Joint Taskforce on a security patrol of major streets of Jos and Bukuru metropolis in North-central Nigeria.

The Taskforce comprises officials of the military, police, immigration, Department of State Security, Federal Road Safety Corps, National Security and Civil Defence Corps as well as National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and Nigerian Prisons Service.

Addressing the joint patrol after the exercise, the Commander said the exercise was part of security measures to assure citizens of its readiness to combat any criminal activity during and after the Sallah celebrations.

He urged the officers to exhibit professionalism in discharging their duties and called for synergy among security agencies for the sustenance of peace in Plateau State.

The Major General also warned those who may want to cause trouble during the celebrations that security agencies were ever ready to clamp down on perpetrators.

On his part, the newly appointed Commissioner of Police, Mr Babatunde Ogunyanwo, said the police is also ready to secure lives and property during the Sallah period.

He appealed to the citizens to also cooperate with the security agencies to provide useful information and adhere to instructions on security arrangements, to forestall breakdown of law and order.

Prisons Service, Benue Govt. Partner To Avert Jail Breaks

Prisons, Benue, Jail BreaksThe Nigerian Prisons Service and the Benue State government have taken steps to prevent the rising cases of jail breaks across Nigeria.

Both stakeholders have resolve to increase surveillance and construct more cell blocks at the Makurdi prison in the Benue State capital, north-central Nigeria.

The Comptroller of Prisons in Benue State, Mr Peter Pevigo, told Channels Television that the joint security committee was contributing maximum armed personnel to counter any jail break attempt in the state.

He pointed out that long period of awaiting trial and prison congestion were major causes of prison riots and jail break attempt.

On his part, the Benue State Deputy Governor, Mr Benson Abounu, promised to ease the pressure on the existing prison facilities, hoping that the judiciary would complement the government’s effort by addressing the challenges of prison congestion.

He acknowledged that 117 inmates were sharing a single cell built to accommodate only 36 prisoners.

Mr Abounu disclosed the government’s plan after a working visit of the Benue State Exco members to the Makurdi prison, to donate 200 mattresses and 400 plates to the inmates.

Nigerian Prisons Commit To Strengthening Security In Facilities

Nigerian PrisonsThe Nigerian Prisons Service has said it is committed to strengthening its programmes on security measures in order to fulfill its reformatory role to inmates.

The Controller of Prisons in Lagos, Mr Tinuoye Olumide, said this during his visit to the female prisons in Kirikiri, southwest Nigeria.

Speaking on Monday in the course of his familiarisation tour, Mr Olumide also reacted to the issues of security breaches in the prisons.

He assured that none of those found culpable of aiding and abetting such criminality would be spared.

The visit is sequel to the Kuje jail break in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory where two inmates of the prison were said to have escaped in June.

In its reaction, the House of Representatives called for the installation of closed circuit cameras at strategic areas in Nigerian prisons.

The lawmakers also stressed the need to urgently recruit more personnel into the Service in order to enhance security.

Prisons Boss Denies Assaulting Female Lawmaker

Prisons Boss - Peter Ekpendu - Joan MarakporThe Comptroller General of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) has faulted assault claims by a member of the House of Representatives.

The disclaimer is coming after Honourable Joan Marakpor alleged that she was slapped and severely assaulted by Mr Peter Ekpendu’s orderly.

A statement issued by the Prisons boss stated that whereas it was true that he was at the National Assembly on the invitation of a committee to attend to some official issues with some of his staff, neither the pilot car in front of him nor his official car had any confrontation with anyone.

Mr Ekpendu described himself as a peace loving and law abiding citizen of Nigeria who had never been involved in any act of bravado, impunity or hooliganism.

He maintained that he would never encouraged any form of abuse on any Nigerian including the honourable member of the National Assembly.

Honourable Marakpor was allegedly slapped by an officer of the NPS for not giving way to the convoy of the Comptroller General of the NPS at the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Interior Minister Cautions Officials of Prisons Against Indiscriminate Delay

Interior Minister Cautions Prisons Officer On Indiscriminate DelayThe Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Dambazau (Rtd), has read the riot act to officials of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS), saying the era of indiscriminate delay by prisons officials to present accused persons in court would no longer be tolerated.

General Dambazau gave the warning at an emergency summit on the state of prisons in Nigeria organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

While calling for an urgent decongestion of the prisons across all states in Nigeria, General Dambazau also decried the increasing number of awaiting trial inmates and the inhuman treatment they face in prisons.

In a moment of lamentation, the Controller General of the Nigerian Prisons Service, Dr. Peter Ekpendu, enumerated the various challenges of the service as the Executive Director of Carmelite Prisoners Interest Organisation, Reverend Father Ambrose Ekeroku, criticised the inhuman treatment of prisoners by prison officials and security agencies.

The Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Professor Bem Angwe, used the occasion to advise the Federal government against swapping of prisoners.

Nigeria and the sub-Saharan Africa are faced with problems of prison congestion, excessive use of force during arrest of suspects, torture, unlawful detention and abuse of prisoners among other issues.

The prisons reform conference, according to the organisers, was aimed at exploring new efforts at reforming the sector in a bid to proffer effective and sustainable solution.

Declare State of Emergency On Prisons, Shehu Sani Tells FG

Shehu Sani on nigerian prisonThe Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Shehu Sani on Wednesday, called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on the nation’s prisons service.

Senator Sani, who made the appeal during a lecture he delivered at a Prison’s Staff College in Kaduna, stressed that if the war against corruption is meant to achieve the desired result, the prison system must be functional to accommodate convicts.

While lamenting over the sorry state of the nation’s prisons, Mr Sani said there is an urgent need for intervention from the Federal Government to rehabilitate them in order to make the anti-corruption war meaningful.

The Senator assured to sponsor a bill at the National Assembly for the reformation of the Nigerian Prisons Service.

According to him, the anti-corruption war of President Buhari’s administration can only succeed with 21st century prisons.

He also advocated a special salary scale for the prison staff like that of staff members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

NPS Recaptures 193 Inmates of Ado-Ekiti Prison

prison-service_officersThe Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) has recaptured 193 inmates since the attack on Ado-Ekiti prison on Sunday, December 3, 2014 out of total of 435 inmates.

Over 300 inmates of the Ado Ekiti Prison escaped on Sunday night after an attack on the facility by unknown gunmen.

The spokesperson of the Prison Service, Ope Fatinikun, appealed to Nigerians, especially nearest communities and neighbouring states of Ekiti, Ondo, Edo, Osun, Kogi and Kwara states to be vigilant and watch out for suspicious individuals and report them to the nearest Prisons or Police stations.

In early November, a prison in Kogi State was attacked with over 120 inmates freed.

Both attacks happened on a Sunday night.

This has been a source of concern for many Nigerians who are asking security agencies in Nigeria to guard against a recurrence.

Jail Break Not Unusual, Inmates Always Want Freedom, Expert Tells Prison Authority

A security expert, Olatunbosun Abolarinwa on Tuesday said the recent prison break which led to the release of 175 inmates from the Ondo medium security prison is a wake-up call to the Nigeria Prisons Service.

“It is a time for authority to wake up,” he said.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Abolarinwa disapproved the durability and strength of the prison structure which he says does not need any expertise to break through. He described it as an ‘eye sore’.

Although guns and explosives were used in facilitating the prison break, Mr Abolarinwa disagreed with the Ondo State Comptroller of Prisons, Tunde Olayiwola, who had said the occurrence was an ‘unusual’ attack.

He explained that the psychology of all inmates in focused on how to be free from prison, hence jail  breaks will always happen. This he said, is why maximum security prisons require beefed up security.

He said the recent spate of prison breaks in the country calls for concern. However he asked people to exercise caution in linking the attacks to terrorist groups.

“There is need for proper investigations to be carried out in order for us to be able to establish the facts and figures in this before we jump to conclusions”.

He said that the prison authority needs to focus on proper archiving and profiling of inmates, which will facilitate recapture of escaped persons.

He however questioned whether the authorities are already doing this.

Jail Break: 20 Prisoners Escape From Sagamu Prison

The Comptroller General of Nigeria Prisons Services; Mr Zakari Ibrahim has confirmed that 20 prisoners escaped in a jail break that occurred in Sagamu Prison on January 2.

The incident was said to have occurred around 4am when some of the prisoners broke the back fence of the prison located in Sagamu, Sagamu local government of Ogun State, South West Nigeria and injured some prisons officials in the process.

Speaking on the development, the Controller General of the Nigerian Prisons Service however confirmed that about four inmates have been re-arrested, saying that a “powerful investigation” has been launched to unravel the circumstances that led to the jail break.

While describing it as unfortunate and embarrassing, the Controller General also said that any officer found culpable would be made to face the full weight of the law.

He however appealed to men and officers of the command to be more committed to their duty and shun all acts that could bring the institution into disrepute.