The Controller-General, Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS), Mr Ja’afaru Ahmed, says the service has not recorded jailbreaks in the country’s prisons in the last one year.
Ahmed told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday that the prison system had experienced calm and peaceful environment following the intervention of the Federal Government in the needs of the service.
NAN reports that the last jailbreak in the country was recorded at the Medium Security Prison in Tunga area of Minna, on June 3, 2018.
Ahmed said that it was with the changes that the service had been able to truly carry out its mandate of securing the inmates after years of neglect.
“We have had a lot of jailbreaks in the past but no longer existing. It is almost a thing of the past. We have intervened in terms of infrastructure, access to justice by taking inmates to and from the courts.
“We have been accused of inability to take inmates to court and therefore it has contributed to the long tension.
“We have over the last three years attended to the problems of the service since I assumed duty as the CG in May 2016.
“Repositioning is ongoing in terms of infrastructure, in terms of logistics, general welfare of both staff and inmates.
“We are also providing the necessary tools and environment for Reformation, Rehabilitation and subsequently reintegration of inmates to the society,” he said.
The NPS boss said that large number of inmates in prisons was facing capital offences and that they were too poor to hire a lawyer.
He said that most of the inmates were Awaiting Trial Persons (ATP) thereby, causing congestion in the prisons.
He said that with the intervention of the former Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd), the challenges facing the system had reduced to the barest minimum.
“The former Minister of Interior presented a memo to the council on the general situation and condition of prisons and prisoners in the country.
“Because of the attention of satellite the government had put on the prisons system, it was approved and it was out of the evolution of that memo that so many things came out.
“We have to identify the long immediate strategy to implement and out of that we have the stakeholders programme for decongestion of prisons under the administration of Justice Ishaq Bello which has so far released over 3,000 inmates from custody.
“This has given hope to inmates that there is more attention on their issues. The total environment change has contributed to an environment where there is peace and it has given the latitude to now be able to reform these inmates and provide them basic needs,” he said.
The CGP said that education had become a necessary tool saying it changed the character of inmates, their perception of an individual and also made them better citizens.
“We have given those without education background trade tests and because of our increased budget; we have been able to provide tools for the inmates who had acquired the skills and passed their jail terms.
“We are also providing and expanding our educational pursuit and I have directed most of the controllers of prisons to open at least one National Open University (NOUN) Centre that will provide education for inmates,” he said.
Ahmed reiterated commitment to improving and upgrading the prisons service system adding that he would not relent in the discharge of his duties and would ensure prisons become a better place for inmates.
“Prison System is for good people with good character,” he added.