By Giwa SHILE
Lagos State Controller of Prison, Mr Tunde Ladipo, on Tuesday said that Nigeria prisons were no longer a punishment institution rather a reformative and correctional centre
Ladipo said in Lagos that the aim of establishing prison institution in any part of the world, including Nigeria, was to reform, rehabilitate and serve as a correctional centre to inmates.
“The prison is a reformative centre, as a matter of fact, some of the inmates are educated, reformed and empowered.
” By the time they get out of the prison, they will be independent and be able to fend for themselves.
“In the prisons now we have inmates who have been trained to become fashion designers, shoe makers among other skills.
” In the education aspect, we have inmates who have gone beyond a first degree; we have inmates with masters degree; we have inmates who are undergoing Phd programmes as first of its kind in Nigeria.
“Therefore, it shows and means that Nigerian Prisons Service is now a correctional centre,” Ladipo said.
The controller commended the Controller General (CG), Alhaji Ja,afaru Ahmed, for his effort towards repositioning the service.
“We thank God for the life of our amiable CG who has so much passion to train and empower inmates to become reasonable and independent persons after serving their jail terms,” he said.
The Lagos prison boss highlighted some of the challenges faced by the service as increase in the number of inmates, necessitating expansion of the structures to avoid congestion.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari set up a presidential committee on decongestion of prisons across the country.
The committee has been going round while inmates were released, particularly in April, 500 inmates were released in Kano.
He added that there should be increase in educational tools, building of more classrooms and expansion in the skill acquisition so that more units could be trained and empowered to become independent and be able to stand on their own.
The minister of interior and the committee on prison reform recently submitted a proposal to the National Assembly on change of Nigerian Prison Service to Nigerian Correctional Service.
However, prison management has also been digitalised, unlike in the past when everything was done manually.
Most of Nigeria’s prisons now have computers and the inmates operate on them.
He said that most of the inmates had been bio-metrically well captured to conform with international standard.
“In general, the National Open University has equipped the classrooms where inmates are being trained and educated, so most of them are computer literate before they can write their exams,” he said.
The CP said there was a strong and robust synergy between the NPS and other sister security agencies.
Ladipo also said that there were plans to organise a Christmas and New Year celebration for the inmates to keep them at home.
He advised parents to take care of their children, adding that they were the future of the country and warned youths to desist from crime.
“Christmas Carol is a yearly ritual to make them feel at home and we will be doing it in all the formations; clerics, NGOs and spirited individuals have been showing interest to support us.
“My advice for the youth is to engage themselves in useful activities that with give them a better rewarding future and not be looking for quick money that could land them in the prison.”