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FG urges NCoS to reject inmates to decongest custodial centres

THE federal government has directed state Controller of Correctional facilities to refuse inmates when they are unable to accommodate them.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Dr Shuaib Belgore, issued this directive today during the decoration ceremony for newly promoted senior officers of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) in Abuja.

Although noting that convicts had increased in recent years, he stated that the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, had initiated a stakeholder engagement to seek solutions to the nation’s correctional facility congestion.

According to the Permanent Secretary, the effort has been bolstered by the construction of additional facilities in Kano and Karshi in the Federal Capital Territory.

He said: “May I also remind the Controller-General to direct all Controllers in charge of correctional facilities across Nigeria to implement the Minister’s directive to decongest the facilities as stipulated in the NCoS Act.

“Let me buttress this point with the Nigerian Correctional Service Act 2019, section 12 subsection (8) as amended, which states and I quote: ‘Without prejudice to subsection (4), the State Controller of Correctional Service in conjunction with the Superintendent shall have the power to reject more intakes of inmates where it is apparent that the Correctional Centre in question is filled to capacity’.

“I will therefore advise you to be guided by the provision of the Act with a view to ensuring that our Correctional Centres are decongested as the ongoing construction of facilities across the country will ultimately make this task achievable.

“It is also of note that three-quarters of inmates are awaiting trial which in my opinion constitutes largely to the problem of congestion of correctional centres.

“May I, therefore, urge the Controller-General to work with state governments to speedily dispense justice, and also to work on modalities that would address minor offences committed by inmates which should not have kept them behind bars for so long.”

When thanking the newly promoted officers, he reminded them that their advancement to new ranks came with increased duties.

“You must view this new accomplishment as a challenge to not only provide more service to your employer and the nation as a whole, but also to regard yourself as a role model to younger officers,” he added.

The Controller General of Correctional facilities, Haliru Nababa, stated in his welcome address that 13 senior officers were promoted to the position of Assistant Controllers General of Corrections (ACG) and 57 to the level of Controllers of Corrections (CC).

He stated that their promotion would allow them to bring new ideas to the NCoS workforce and energize it for peak performance.

Earlier, 30 newly purchased duty operational vehicles were commissioned to improve the Service’s operational efficiency.

“These vehicles will surely scale up our ability as a Service, to provide the first line of protective security required for the fulfilment of our primary mandate,” the CG said.

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