By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
Nigeria Correctional Service, Akwa Ibom State Command yesterday said that 70 per cent of inmates in its four correctional facilities are awaiting trial.
The Controller of Corrections in the state, Mr Alex Oditah who disclosed this yesterday in Uyo, said the four correctional centres with 1, 336 capacity is currently having a total of 2,559 inmates, thereby overstretching the facilities.
Oditah who was briefing newsmen on the “1st Inmates Rehabilitation Concert Unity For Success Security Week 2019, with the theme: ‘Effective Leadership: A Recipe for Peace, Security and National Development’, also disclosed that 41 inmates, comprising 39 males and 2 females were on death row.
His words, “70 per cent of those who are in our four correctional facilities are awaiting trial. And it becomes difficult for us to engage them in any particular skill because their date of discharge is not known.
“It is very difficult to send an awaiting trial to any particular skill centre because his date of discharge is obviously not known. But for those whose date of discharge are known, it becomes very easy.
“If an inmate who is awaiting trial is sent to the tailoring section, and the tailoring section is supposed to carry out tutelage for about three years, and by the time the person spends two months, he is let go, it defeats the very purpose of rehabilitation. These are serious challenges in rehabilitating and reforming some of the inmates”
According to Oditah, Uyo Correctional Centre which has capacity for 613 inmates currently is accommodating 1,282; Ikot Ekpene centre which has 400 capacity, accommodates 756 inmates; Eket centre which has 123 capacity now holds 365 inmates, while Ikot Abasi centre which has a 200 capacity is currently accommodating 156 inmates.
He, however, revealed that the committee which was set up by the Controller General to investigate the death of an inmate in the correctional centre in Eket Local government area penultimate week have concluded their assignment.
He assured that as soon as the report on the investigation was ready, it would be made public.