Prison Reform: Our Focus is on Inmates not Crime- Dambazau
The Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau(rtd), has said government was working towards a holistic prison reform, saying that “our focus is on rehabilitating the criminal and not the crime he or she committed.
The minister stated this on Friday at the Nigerian Prison Headquarters in Abuja, where he commissioned several projects including the Nigerian Prison multipurpose Conference Centre, which was named Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau Conference Centre, central stores and 116 operational vehicles bought through the 2018 Procurement process.
He said prisons reform was necessary to ensure that Nigerian Prisons conform to the United Nations minimum standard.
According to him, prisons decongestion is one of the most important and effective ways to ensure effective prisons reform and regretted that no fewer than 70 per cent of inmates in Nigerian prisons are awaiting trial inmates.
He noted that most prisons facilities across the country were accommodating inmates beyond their capacities, stressing that some of the facilities were built about 100 years ago
He said that the NPS would concentrate on the issue of rehabilitation of prisoners, to ensure that they were better reformed before leaving the penitentiary.
The Minister expressed happiness at the meaningful projects executed by the Nigerian Prison Service under the leadership of Ja’afaru Ahmed and enjoined other paramilitary agencies under the Interior Ministry to emulate the exemplary posture of Prison Service.
Speaking at the occasion, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Interior, Hon. Adams Jagaban applauded the Prison service for doing so much with little budget.
According to him, the strides of the prison service motivated the committee to push for the passage of the Nigerian Correctional Service bill which is before Mr President for assent.
“I think the service is lucky to have Ja’afaru Ahmed”, he said.
In his address, the Controller General of Prisons(CGP) Ja’afaru Ahmed said in the last three years, the service has been able to embark on the construction of a number of projects such as new prisons, state headquarters complexes , student hostels, lecture halls, stores, new cells, barracks, perimeter fences, watch towers, and several renovations.
According to the CGP, these are in addition to massive procurement and distribution of inmates’ uniforms, beds/beddings, assorted drugs and other sundry items.
“Another area of giant strides is in the purchase of vehicles where the Service was able to procure 217 vehicles in 2016 and 49 in 2017”, he said.
Ja’afaru Ahmed noted that NPS also procured 116 vehicles in 2018 which were being commissioned today and they include big and mini Green-Maria, ambulances, sewage trucks, water tankers and utility vans, adding that the vehicles will be used to convey inmates to courts and ensure speedy dispensation of justice while providing emergency health services and other operational activities.