Correctional Service Reshuffles Over 170 Officials To ‘Inject New Ideas’

A photo of the Nigerian Correctional Service Headquarters.

 

The Controller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa, has reshuffled Directorate heads in the service and redeployed 170 other officers across the country.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Corrections Public Relations Officer, Enobore MNIPR.

According to the statement, the development is aimed at injecting new ideas and promoting effective coordination of activities for enhanced service delivery.

The development saw DCG Mohammed Ahmad Tukur, taking over the Directorate of Non-Custodial Measures (NCM) while DCG Sylvester Nwakuche, who hitherto superintended over NCM Directorate takes over the Operations Directorate. DCG (covering duties) Mary Emmanuel Melchizedek now oversees the Directorate of Health and Welfare as DCG Tunde Olatunbosun Oladipupo retires from service.

Also, DCG (covering duties) Emilia Adobi Oputa has been moved from the Directorate of Training and Staff Development (STD) to head the Directorate of Inmates’ Training and Productivity (ITP) while ACG Lawrence Adewale Showumi who was the Zone A Coordinator now takes over the Directorate of TSD as DCG (covering duties).

ACG Uche Nwobi has been moved to Lagos to take over as Zone A Coordinator.

The exercise also affected 21 Controllers of Corrections and 13 Deputy Controllers of Corrections. While some are deployed to take over state commands and Custodial Centres, others are assigned new responsibilities both at the National Headquarters and at state levels.

The Controller General charged all officers and men concerned to report at their new posts and hit the ground running, giving no space for indolence that could further compromise the sacredness of Custodial Centres.

He noted that this measure is not only germane as a response strategy to the security challenges confronting the NCoS but imperative in evolving new ideas that will set the Service on a higher pedestal. He, therefore, challenged officers to be ingenious in the discharge of their responsibilities.

Attackers Must Not Live To Tell The Story, Aregbesola Tells Prisons Officers

A file photo of the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola. Photo: Facebook/Rauf Aregbesola

 

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has ordered that any attack on the Agodi Medium Security Correctional Centre, Ibadan must be resisted with maximum force without sparing the attackers.

He also ordered the immediate demolition of all the shops and buildings around the correctional facility in the Oyo State capital, to ensure maximum security of the centre.

Aregbesola gave the directive while addressing officers at the correctional centre during a tour of the facility on Monday.

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“All buildings or shops built within 50 metres from the fence of Agodi medium correctional facility must be demolished with immediate effect,“ he said.

”This is a dangerous zone for those who are not invited. Whoever attempts to breach this facility for whatever reason is already dead; he must not live to tell the story, somebody else must tell the story.”

The minister reminded members of staff of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) that their sole duty was to protect the custodial centres from any attack.

Describing the centre as a red zone, he specifically told the personnel of the service to always be alert.

Aregbesola admitted that good illumination should be provided for the centre to prevent any possible attack, especially during the night.

He commended the officers for their efforts at preventing the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic at the facility, stating that there was not a single case of the disease reported.

The minister, however, appealed to the custodial officers to use their training and exposure to reform inmates, so that they could come out better than when they arrived at the facility.

While in the state, he is expected to visit the correctional facility still under construction at the Olomi area of Ibadan.

Reps Ask FG To Secure Release Of Nigerians Illegally Detained In Prisons Abroad

This photograph taken on September 15, 2021, shows a prison in Paris, France. Ludovic MARIN / AFP

 

Members of the House of Representatives have raised an alarm over the trend of Nigerians being illegally detained in prisons in foreign lands, and asked the Federal Government to secure their release.

This follows a motion raised by a lawmaker, Dennis Idahosa, on the need to ascertain the number of Nigerians detained in foreign prisons, during plenary on Thursday in the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

In their resolution, they urged the Federal Government to intervene and secure the release of Nigerians being held illegally in prisons abroad.

The lawmakers also resolved to mandate the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Justice and Inter-Parliamentary Relations, to ensure compliance with the resolution reach.

Before the resolution, they noted that Nigerians were in almost all countries of the world, making exploits in sports, technology, business, education, and politics, and have been ranked as one of the highest educated immigrants in foreign countries.

They added that due to the large population of the Nigerian diaspora community, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) was established to provide for the engagement and participation of such persons in the development of the country.

A file photo of some members of the House of Representatives during a plenary.

 

In moving the motion, Idahosa drew the attention of his colleagues to the International Conventions and Treaties which prescribed that anyone charged with a criminal offence was entitled to a fair hearing, within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

According to him, the World Bank estimated remittances of around 24.3 billion per year and six per cent of the country’s GDP, thereby making Nigeria one of the highest-ranking countries of the world in remittances inflow.

“Cognisant that the remittances of Nigerians living abroad have been of significant impact in the development and economic growth of the country;

“Concerned about reports that many Nigerians are languishing in foreign prisons, some of whom are being illegally detained, while some are exposed to labour exploitation, poor living conditions, discrimination, sex exploitation and other forms of dehumanising treatments;

“Worried that from a 2019 survey report by the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEPAD), about 16,500 Nigerians who are in prisons outside the country were convicted without legal representation and not knowing why they are in jail,” the lawmaker said.

He believes the Federal Government needs to employ diplomatic means to assist Nigerians wrongly convicted and being detained in various prisons abroad.

FG Is Focused On Building Modern Prisons, Says Dambazau

FG Is Focused On Building Modern Prisons, Says Dambazau

 

The Federal Government has unveiled plans to invest in the building of modern prisons across the country.

Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), disclosed this at an event held on Saturday in Abuja.

He said, “Most of our prisons, particularly those situated in urban centres are more than a century old; over a hundred years old.

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“So, what we do is to ensure that we build modern prisons that will meet the required universal standard for the treatment and rehabilitation of prison inmates.

Dambazzau offered some perspective at the inauguration of some projects at the Headquarters of the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) in the nation’s capital.

According to him, correctional facilities in the country are in dire need of rehabilitation or outright replacement.

 

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Interior, Mr Adams Jagaban, also addressed the audience at the event.

He hinted that the plan by the National Assembly to make the prison an efficient corrective service centre was already contained in the Nigeria Correctional Service Bill.

The lawmaker noted that the bill had been passed but has yet to be assented to by the President.

He said, “Honourable Minister, I want to assure you and the Nigerian public that apart from the physical thing one can see and touch, the greatest achievement is the passage of this bill.”

“Since 1999 that we have been working hard to pass this bill, it has never reached this level but with the cooperation of the current Controller-General of Prisons, we have reached the position we are today,” Jagaban added.

Nigeria has over 1,400 prisons across the country and most of them are in a poor state and over-populated.

According to the NPS, there are over 73,000 inmates in these facilities with more than 23,000 convicted.

No fewer than 49,000 inmates are awaiting trial for various offences they are said to have committed.

Rappers Meek Mill And Jay-Z Launch Criminal Justice Group

 

Rappers Jay-Z and Meek Mill announced Wednesday they are launching a new criminal justice reform organization aimed at “dramatically” reducing the number of people in the US prison system.

The group’s creation comes less than a year after Mill, 31, was released from jail after his harsh sentence for a parole violation sparked protests against racial biases in US probation laws.

REFORM Alliance is putting an initial $50 million toward “disabling the revolving door of probation and parole,” by “changing the laws, policies, and practices that perpetuate injustice,” according to its mission statement.

Along with Mill and Jay-Z, founding partners of the group include CNN commentator and justice advocate Van Jones, who will serve as the organization’s CEO.

The owner of the National Football League’s New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, along with National Basketball Association team co-owners Clara Wu Tsai (Brooklyn Nets) and Michael Rubin (Philadelphia 76ers) have also put their weight behind the cause.

“I’m here to speak for all the people who don’t have a voice,” said Mill, who was born Robert Rihmeek Williams and raised in North Philadelphia, an area notorious for drug violence, by a single mother after his father was killed.

Well before he ascended to rap stardom Mill was jailed on drug and possession charges in 2008 — and re-imprisoned in 2017 after a Philadelphia judge handed down a term of two to four years for a parole violation.

His incarceration triggered a public outcry, and Mill’s case became a flashpoint in the national conversation over the US criminal justice system’s treatment of black people.

His celebrity backers included activist and football player Colin Kaepernick and Jay-Z, who penned an op-ed in The New York Times on his fellow rapper’s behalf.

“Being from the environment I’m from, I don’t even think it’s possible for you to be an angel,” Mill said at the unveiling of REFORM. “You grow up around murder on a daily basis, you grow up in drug-infested neighborhoods on a daily basis.”

“I got caught up in the system, and every time I started to further my life with the music industry,” he said, “every year or two there was always something that brought me back to ground zero.”

REFORM’s current goal is to free one million people from the system in the next five years, with an initial focus on parole and probation.

There are some 6.6 million people in the US criminal justice system, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics — 4.5 million of them on parole or probation

FG Orders AGF To Fast-track Decongestion Of Prisons In Nigeria

Senate To Invite Prisons Boss Over Detention Of Underage Offenders
File Photo

 

The Federal Government has directed the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, (AGF), Abubakar Malami to fast-track the decongestion of prisons and set up a stakeholders committee to that effect.

The call comes after the AGF had in October 2017, inaugurated an 18-man committee, chaired by the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, to fast-track prisons decongestion in Nigeria.

The state of the prison across the country has been described as pathetic and a complete abuse of the fundamental human rights of the inmates.

The committee says it has set free 1,310 inmates that have committed minor offences with an option of fine.

There have been several calls for the decongestion of the prisons in the country, following the jailbreaks that the nation has experienced in recent times.

 

Former DSS Director Calls For Decongestion Of Prisons, Welfare Of Warders

 

A former Director of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) Mike Ejiofor, has called for the decongestion of the prisons across the federation.

He noted that the prisons need to be decongested because there are no funds to take care of the welfare of the inmates and warders.

Mr Ejiofor mentioned that the situation has led to the recent jailbreaks in the country.

He made this known on Tuesday when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

On the latest jailbreak which occurred at the Minna Maximum prison in Niger State where about 210 inmates escaped after the invasion of the prison by some gunmen, Mr Ejiofor noted that the situation should be treated with serious concern.

He said, “It is a maximum security prison which means suspects in that prison are high profile ones, for such a break with over 200 people escaping means a lot and if not brought back it will bring wreck more havoc to the society”.

On the daily feeding of N300, He said that such amount is not adequate for these prisons, noting that the prison is supposed to reform these inmates but rather they go inside the prison and come out hardened due to the conditions met at the prisons.

He insisted that the prisons should be decongested so that funds being provided for these prisoners will reduce the pressure on the prisons.

The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, during the inspection on Monday lamented over the inadequate manpower in the Nigerian Prisons.

He added that plans are on to recruit more workers to enable adequate security.

He also noted that out of the 210 inmates that escaped, over 35 inmates have been rearrested.

 

Senate To Invite Prisons Boss Over Detention Of Underage Offenders

Senate To Invite Prisons Boss Over Detention Of Underage Offenders
File Photo

 

The Senate has directed its Committee on Interior to invite the Comptroller-General of Prisons with a mandate to investigate the confinement of underage offenders and infants with adults in the nation’s prison facilities.

The lawmakers gave the directive during plenary on Wednesday, following a motion sponsored by Senator Victor Umeh from Anambra State.

They noted that it was illegal to confine underage offenders in the same prison with adult prisoners and asked the committee to get a brief from the Prisons Boss on the state of prison inmates in the country.

On his part, Senate President Bukola Saraki thanked Senator Umeh for the motion and asked the Upper House to ensure erring Nigerian minors are not getting the same kind of treatment as the adults.

“We must ensure that we protect their rights and must look at corrective measures by the correction facilities that will help address some of the children that are being held,” he said.

The Senate further urged the Legal Aid Council to step up efforts to ensure that the underage children are not prosecuted without legal representation in courts.

it asked various security agencies involved in the arrest and detention of the juvenile to ensure that they are not incarcerated beyond 48 hours.

The agencies were also directed to ensure the underage offenders are separated from the adult inmates, in cases where a conviction is secured.

The lawmakers also called on the Federal Government to establish more juvenile remand/ correctional homes and creches, attached to all female prisons across the country.

They asked the Senate Committee on Interior to report back within four weeks.

France To Put Phones In Prison Cells In Bold Shift

File: French President Emmanuel Macron                                                                                           LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

France plans to install landline phones in prison cells across the country in an ambitious bid to improve rehabilitation rates — and cut down on rampant cellphone trafficking behind bars.

The justice ministry said Tuesday that it had called for bids to operate the new service after “successful tests of this experiment” at one prison since 2016.

But the new freedom to call up to four pre-approved numbers at any time of the day won’t come cheap, with one prisoner advocacy group warning that calls could cost up to 80 euro cents ($0.97) a minute.

Like other countries, France has struggled against the smuggling of cellphones into prisons, with more than 19,000 handsets and accessories seized in the first half of 2017, for an overall prisoner population of about 70,000.

“There have always been call boxes in prisons, but the inmates need to be accompanied by personnel, which requires time and availability. It gets complicated,” the justice ministry said.

“Sometimes, an inmate will have four people in line in front of him for the phone in the hall. But when it’s his turn, it’s time to be back in the cell. Things get tense,” said Christopher Dorangeville, head of the CGT Penitentiaries labour union.

In July 2016 the prison at Montmedy in northeast France put phones in every cell, which led to a 31 percent drop in illicit cellphone seizures in the first half of last year compared with the same period a year earlier.

“The phones have eased tensions inside the prison,” the ministry said.

“It helps with civil reintegration, by maintaining family ties,” it added, saying the goal is to “cut cellphone trafficking.”

 ‘Way too expensive’ 

Newspaper Le Monde reported that telecom operators will place bids in the coming days to install the phones in 50,000 cells at 178 prisons across France starting at the end of the year.

The operator must finance the installation costs, then make its money by charging prisoners for calls.

The International Prison Observatory, a French advocacy group, welcomed the move.

“A phone in each cell allows a degree of intimacy when speaking with family members,” said the NGO’s Francois Bes.

“More important, the fact that you can call when you want can let them speak with children after school,” Bes added.

“The problem is the high cost of talking. Currently a call costs about 80 euro cents a minute.”

Even after the cost was renegotiated at Montmedy down to about 65 cents, “that’s still way too expensive for most inmates.”

A prisoner at Reau, southeast of Paris, calculated that calling his family for a few minutes each day would cost around 150 euros a month, an amount he would never have even if he qualified for some of the jobs available to inmates.

The system has also raised concerns among prison guards who warn that the number of inmates authorised to call will need to be vetted and calls monitored.

And in cells holding more than one person, there might be a risk of fighting over phone time.

“With several people in a cell, how are we going to manage any conflicts over access?” asked Jean-Francois Forget of the Ufap-Unsa Justice union, the largest among prison guards.

AFP

Minister Of Justice Inaugurates Committee To Decongest Prisons Nationwide

FILE PHOTO: Enugu Prison

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has inaugurated an 18-man committee to fast-track prisons decongestion in the Nigeria.

The committee is chaired by the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High court, Justice Ishaq Bello.

While addressing the committee in Abuja, the Minister describes the current states of prisons across the country as pathetic and a complete abuse of the fundamental human rights of the inmates.

He charged the newly inaugurated committee to work at ensuring that the number of inmates awaiting trials reduces drastically.

According to him, over 70 per cent of inmates in prisons across the country are awaiting trial, a situation he describes as an indictment on the Nigeria’s justice system.

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.

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.