By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
ABUJA—THE Nigerian Prisons Service, NPS, yesterday, declared that there was no more place for any of its officials who condones corruption and indiscipline in the service.
To prove its seriousness, the NPS last week, dismissed eight officers who masterminded the trafficking of drugs and telephone into prisons in the country and aided inmates to commit offenses inimical to the operations of the agency.
The Controller General of the NPS, Alhaji Ja’afaru Ahmed, told Vanguard in an exclusive interview that the service had put in place necessary sanctions to checkmate jailbreaks and smuggling of banned items into the prisons.
Ahmed pointed out that jailbreak and other forms of indiscipline had flourished in the past because there was no appropriate punishment of such crimes.
Ahmed said: “When I assumed duties, I observed with dismay that many people committed various offenses but were never punished in accordance with the law. For that reason, we said it should no longer be the case and insisted that every person should answer for his offenses to serve as a deterrent to others.
“Having meted out appropriate punishment for erring officials, we moved swiftly to ensure that everybody performs their duties effectively while we also took steps to minimize the high rate of trafficking within the prison.”
The rate of trafficking before now was very high.
“We also found out that there was laxity on the part of the workers and we have punished those involved. We have also started to address the challenge of inadequate manpower to cope with the demand of the service.
“We have also looked at the structures of the prisons by changing the whole pattern in the way we construct the prison cells. The ones that we are doing now will last for a generation.’’
The prison boss expressed delight over the steady academic progress being made by inmates across the country and the feat the agency was recording in the area of farming and food production.
Ahmed revealed that one of the best graduates of the National Open University of Nigeria in 2014 was an inmate from Enugu Prisons,h while no fewer than 300 others have been admitted to the same university this session.
The CG explained that the overall goal of the service was to make the inmates better citizens by the time the serve out their prison terms and reintegrate them into society.
“So we are making efforts; trying to reposition and to make prison a better place for people, for unfortunate Nigerians who happen to be there so that their lives are not wasted.
“We try as much as possible to reform them, to reintegrate them back into the society as law abiding citizens and we are happy that we are doing that and this government is giving us the opportunity to do that,” Ahmed said.