The Minister for Interior, Ọgbẹni Rauf Aregbesola, has on Tuesday, 16th June 2020, commissioned 59 additional operational vehicles for the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS). The brand new vehicles, which were commissioned by the Minister at the headquarters of NCoS, comprised of 36 mini “Green Maria”, 18 Escort Duty Vehicles, and 5 Customized Green Maria Buses.
The Minister of Interior commended the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for its efforts towards changing the fortunes of the Nigerian Correctional Service. The former Osun State governor made this commendation while delivering his keynote address at the official commissioning of 59 additional batch of operational vehicles recently procured by the Nigerian Correctional Service. He said that the evident positive changes in the Correctional Service was because of the unprecedented development priority of the present federal government since 2015, which has influenced almost all the sectors of the Nigerian society including the Ministry of Interior and the Nigerian Correctional Service in particular.
He said that one of the big challenges facing the NCoS was in the area of logistics. According to him, the bad state of the logistics affected negatively on the service delivery of the NCoS (formerly Nigerian Prisons Service) specifically as it relates to inmates’ access to justice, because there were insufficient vehicles to convey inmates to and from court. This awkward situation, he said, necessitated the resolve of the President to ensure that funds are released for the procurement of vehicles on an annual basis since 2015 so as to address these shortcomings.
The Minister did not hide his delight at the event of the day, and noted that besides, there are other issues faced by the NCoS. He disclosed that accommodation was another worrying problem that the Service has put up with over the years. He said it is being addressed with the ongoing construction of three units of 3000-cell capacity ultra-modern Custodial Centres in three geopolitical zones of the country, namely Kano (North West), Karshi – Abuja (North Central) and Bori Rivers State (South South).
He added that there have been extensive renovation and rehabilitation of cells, barracks and other physical structure across the country, disclosing that 32 Satellite Custodial Centres hitherto shut down as a result of insurgency, have now been re-opened and rehabilitated, while 14 new Satellite Custodial Centres and barracks have been constructed.
The main objective of the Correctional Service is the Reformation of inmates, and according to the Minister this area too has received unprecedented attention in recent years. The skills acquisition workshops in the various Custodial Centres have received attention. Vocational workshops like welding, weaving, masonry, furniture, farming, tailoring, barbing, and bakery have all received upgrades in recent times.
He said the educational needs of the inmates is not left out as 649 inmates are currently running various degree and postgraduate degree programmes with the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). About 1,000 inmates have also been enrolled for the WAEC/NECO Examinations. There are adult literacy classes in the several Custodial Centres while additional training institutions for young offenders are being put in place in each State of the Federation.
He charged the officers and men of the service to make good use of the brand new vehicles, adding that that is the only way to justify the huge investment the Government has made in their procurement.
The Controller General of Corrections of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ja’afaru Ahmed in his welcome address, gave a breakdown of the vehicles to include 36 Mini Green Maria vehicles, 18 Escort Duty Vehicles and 5 customized Green Maria Buses. Ja’afaru explained that 54 of these vehicles were procured with the 2019 Appropriation while 5 where part of the 2018 Appropriation.
The CGC lauded the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for outstanding commitment towards the welfare of the Correctional Service, revealing that between 2016 and 2018, the Service has commissioned a total of 397 vehicles consisting of 218 vehicles with the 2016 Appropriation, 49 with the 2017 Appropriation, and 130 vehicles with the 2018 Appropriation. This brings the total number of vehicles procured by the Nigerian Correctional Service under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR to 451.
The unprecedented efforts of the Buhari administration to the development fortunes of the NCoS notwithstanding, the CGC said that the number of operational vehicles available to the Service still falls short of the required number to adequately and conveniently convey inmates daily to over 5000 courts nationwide. Therefore, he appealed for the sustenance of the budgetary funding in order to facilitate the procurement of additional vehicles in due course in order to adequately bridge the logistics gap.
According to the statement of the Nigeria Correctional Service, the Honourable Minister was accompanied to the event by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Barrister Georginia Ehuria. Other dignitaries at the event were the Chairman, House Committee on Reformatory Institutions, Mr Edwin Anayo, and representatives of both the Controller General of Immigration and Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Source: The Nigeria Correctional Service, http://www.corrections.gov.ng