Bill To Cater For Inmates’ Babies Scales Second Reading At Senate

Senate, Inmates' BabiesThe Senate has passed for second reading, a bill which seeks to protect babies born while their mothers are serving jail terms in prisons across Nigeria.

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, enlightened lawmakers at the Upper House on the benefits of the proposal.

Senator Tinubu explained that if passed into law, the bill would ensure that prison authorities provide special accommodation to meet prenatal and postnatal needs of pregnant inmates.

She told her colleagues on Wednesday that the condition of babies and mothers serving jail terms in Nigerian prisons was disheartening and should be of serious concern to the parliament.

“There is need for a Crèche, Nursery and a separate facility to improve conditions of Nursing Mothers and Children in Prison,” Senator Tinubu stressed.

Appalling Condition Of Prisons

The lawmaker further expressed displeasure with the condition of most of the prisons, saying they do not provide for nursing mothers serving their jail terms.

In a similar development, the Senate decried the situation in Nigeria’s major prisons, describing it as appalling.

It pointed out that the prisons needed improvement, something that a bill for an act to repeal and re-enact the Prison Act may be addressing at the completion of the process.

The bill was also brought before the Senate for its second reading on Wednesday.

It was sponsored by Senator Shaba Lafiagi who also led the debate on the bill.

FG Will Restructure Nigerian Prisons – Dambazau

Abdulrahman Dambazau PrisonsThe Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazau (Rtd), says the Federal Government will commence total restructuring of Nigeria’s prisons.

He announced the plan on Tuesday at a meeting organised for senior officers of the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

The Minister said that the reform is coming as part of measures to forestall cases of prison breaks in the near future.

General Dambazau noted that the present situation of prisons across the country calls for structural changes as some of them have not been remodelled in the last 100 years.

He informed the officials that another area the government would focus on is the provision of close circuit cameras for adequate security, as recommended by the House of Representatives.

The Interior Minister further warned that the government would not fail to take punitive measures against officers who become complacent in the discharge of their duties.

The meeting became important after the jail breaks in Kuje Prison, Abuja and another at the Koton Karfe Prison in Kogi State happening within two months.

The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS), Jafaru Ahmed, on his part gave an update on the recent Koton Karfe prison break.

He called on all senior officers in the Prisons Service to buckle up as he equally vowed that the law would catch up with any official found wanting.

Mr Ahmed also urged Nigerians to provide information that would be helpful to officials of the NIS in the discharge of their duties.

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.

Kuje Jail Break: Reps Advocate Provision Of CCTV In Nigerian Prisons

Nigerian Prisons, House of Representatives,The House of Representatives has called for the installation of closed circuit cameras at strategic areas in Nigerian prisons.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Interior, Representative Adams Jagaba, made the call after members of the committee were taken round the Kuje Prison on Wednesday.

He was also reacting to the recent jail break in Kuje, a suburb in Abuja, where two inmates of the prison were said to have escaped four days ago.

The lawmaker said there was also an urgent need to recruit more personnel into the Nigeria Prison Service (NPS) in order to enhance security.

While highlighting some lapses observed during the inspection, he also spoke on the issue of awaiting trial inmates.

Mr Jagaba said that the National Assembly has made appropriate budgetary provision for more vehicles and arms for the service.

He also called for a proper investigation that would recommend proper sanctions for any negligence discovered.

In his response, the Deputy Comptroller-General (Operations) of NPS, Mr Emmanuel Ogundele, said an investigation was on-going on the jail break.

Inmates Face Hunger As Prison Food Contractors Complain Of Being Broke

PrisonThe contractors supplying food items and gas to Nigerian prisons across the country have complained of being broke.

The contractors complained that unless President Muhammadu Buhari and the new Minister of Interior personally intervene to settle a total of 6billion naira they are being owed by the federal government, they would be grounded.

In a Save-Our-Soul (SOS) letter on Friday, November 13, addressed to President Buhari, the contractors, under the aegis of Nigeria Prison Service Ration and Gas Contractors (NPSRGC), said that they have not been paid for the supply of the food items and gas to the prisons since January 2015.

They also stated that they have resorted to taking bank loans with all the accumulative interests, as some of them have had to dispose of their houses and other properties just so that they would meet up.

The contractors made it clear that if they are not paid the outstanding money before the end of November, they would have no money to continue to supply food items and gas to the prisons in December, a situation which they said, poses great danger to the fragile security of the country.

“Needless to say that if prisoners and inmates of the nation’s prisons are not fed for two days, they could go haywire and the consequences are not good to imagine. We don’t want any national embarrassment for Mr President and his new government.”

The contractors said that before 2015, they used to be paid two weeks ahead of time, but wondered why the system changed to the extent that they were the ones using their money to buy the food items and gas for the prisons before they were reimbursed.

“We are therefore appealing to the Commander-In-Chief to mobilise funds from anywhere to settle our bill before it is too late, knowing that top on his priority is security. We have endured long enough,” the letter read.

The letter of appeal to the President, copies of which were sent to the Minister of Interior, the Comptroller-General of the Prison and others, was signed by the association’s President, S. K Sanni, National Secretary, Mr Eugene Agro and the National Vice President (North West), Ibrahim A. Asarakawa.

Agency To Build New Facilities To Decongest Prisons

nigerian prisonThe Nigerian Prison Service is planning to build new prisons and renovate the old ones, as part of effort by the current administration to decongest the prisons across the nation, the Comptroller General of the Prison Service, Dr. Peter Ekpendu, has said.

Dr. Ekpendu gave the hint during the commissioning of the Zaria Prison that was renovated by the Kaduna State government.

Some aggrieved inmates of the prison had on May 28, set the detention facility ablaze during a riot, while two inmates escaped.

During an inspection tour to assess the level of damage at the prison, Governor Nasir El-Rufai, approved the sum of 24 million Naira for the renovation of the facility.

Riots and jail breaks in Nigerian prisons have become a phenomenon that have more or less become part and parcel of issues of great concern in the administration of justice, prisons management and national security.

Some of the causes of most of the riots in prisons in Nigeria include congestion in cells, poor feeding of inmates, lack of court appearance, poor medical attention and facilities and harsh punishment in prisons among others.

The Zaria prisons built in 1903 is not an exception, as it witnessed an attempted jail break on May 28, 2015.

At the commissioning of the renovated building were the Controller General of the Service accompanied by the representative of the Kaduna State Governor, Amina Sijuade and heads of other security agencies.

The Controller General said the renovation of old prison building and the construction of new ones had become very important to decongest detention centres across the nation and give them the necessary infrastructural facelift required in line with international standards.

While acknowledging that Prisons Service was within the exclusive list in Nigeria, he urged Governors to help the Federal Government improve prison facilities in their respective states.

The State Commissioner of Police, Umar Shehu, who was also at the event, assured Nigerians of the readiness of his command to collaborate with the Nigerian Prison Service for speedy dispensation of justice, as a way to further decongest the prisons.