By Abdulmumin Murtala, Kano
Recent prison breaks across the country have been described as the reflection of the system that needs an overhaul to provide for reformation, rehabilitation and recreational facility.
This was stated by the Executive Director of the Prisons Fellowship Nigeria, Benson Nngozi Iwuagwu when he addressed newsmen on Monday at the opening of a two-day workshop on inmates behavioural and cognitive modification program in Kano.
He explained that jailbreak is a reflection of what is happening in society giving an example of the recent acquittal of some inmates after spending 15 years in jail, insisting that injustice to one is an injustice to all.
“The issue of jailbreak is a complex one, I cannot tell you that I have the facts, but understand this that why does something suddenly react in a certain way? It must be pressured, like when you have explosions and the likes, it is because there is a compressed air that escapes, so those are the expression of socioeconomic and cultural pressures, and it could also be a reflection of the system. I’m sure as journalists you witnessed when some men were let out of jail and acquitted by a court after 15 years in custody.
“If you or I had 15 years of our productive lives cut short, we wouldn’t be happy. So there are a lot of factors, and this is why we are praying that Godfearing politicians leaders, judges, magistrates and police will begin to handle some of these issues. Because injustice to one is an injustice to all, so this jailbreak, this workshop can help to resolve it by that correctional service act.
“That is why they have renamed it from Nigerian Prisons to Nigerian Correctional Service. Is just like if you have a child and you keep using the hard hand on the child, the child will never take correction but will become more stubborn and will rebel.
“So Nigerian Correctional Service, the President and the legislature have taken a good step to say let us begin to look at how we can correct these people, so is not just imprison them but correct them. These are some of the programs we are discussing with these officers.
“The jailbreak is a reflection of what is happening in the society. You can see that there is anger everywhere and a hungry man is an angry man. So we are praying for our leaders because that is what the Bible says to pray for your leaders” he explained.
He however emphasized correctional measures as necessary in implementing the Correctional Service Act signed into law in 2019.
“We are here to further the understanding and the implementable components of the Nigeria Correctional Service Act 2019 with respect to how we can assist in the Reformation, rehabilitation and recreational objective of the Nigerian Correctional Service.
“Basically we know that in 2019 the president signed a new law emphasizing correction of those who are in custody. The primary thing is how do we make those people change.
“You and I know that change cone from the inside, perception, understanding, what this program is doing is to unpack, to take that aspect of Correctional Service Act to help the officers, you can see they are all officers from Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina and Kano, to how they can apply these things.
On our own part as a faith-based organization, we have the capacity that by our affiliation, Prison Fellowship Nigeria is a chattered affiliate of the Prison Fellowship International” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Controller General of Corrections Halliru Nababa, the Assistant Controller General Lawal Audu Gusau said, “The footprint of this training will in a very long time create a lasting endurable mark for the Service. Hence, the participants should take advantage and learn, ask questions where necessary and be good ambassadors of the Service throughout the duration of the program”.