Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola
The House of Representatives on Wednesday unveiled plans to investigate the utilisation of the N165 billion appropriated for the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) over the past two years.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion on ‘Urgent national importance on the deplorable state of Inmates and the unwholesome working conditions of officers and men of the service in spite of huge budgetary allocations with attendant adverse effects on security of custodial facilities.
The resolution followed a motion of urgent public importance by Rep. Ndudi Elumelu, the minority leader of the House on the floor of the House on Wednesday in Abuja.
The House resolved to mandate the Committee on Reformatory Institutions to investigate the allegations and report to the House within twelve weeks for further legislative action.
In his motion, Elumelu said upon the enactment of the NCS Act 2019, Nigeria joined most countries in adopting modern correctional alternatives to incarceration or imprisonment including non–custodial measures.
He stated that the extant Act situates the workforce of NCS as the single most important resource available to the correctional system and thus prioritised the welfare of officers and men.
This, he said was in line with international best practices to propel them to optimal performance.
He stated that despite the Act and increase in budgetary allocations to the NCS to drive its renewed mandate, the tempo and quality of the service had remained the same.
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He added that the working conditions of staff and inmates’ welfare had deteriorated notwithstanding the over N165 billion budget allocations to the Service in the last two years.
According to him, the Arms Squad unit of the service still parades obsolete and substandard weapons despite over N1 billion budget provision for Prison Biometrics, Arms and Ammunition in the 2020 to 2021 Capital budget.
This, he said had impeded its ability to deter, prevent or respond effectively to both internal and external threats.
“Staff still buys or makes their uniform till date regardless of the huge budget allocations provided for this purpose, provision of uniform for inmates is nonexistence in most Custodial centers
He said: “there are also claims of unscrupulous staff promotion, denial of rights and benefits, including hazard and duty tour allowances leveled against the management of the Service.
He said the effects of these allegations, given increasing evidences of susceptibility of some officers compromising security of custodial facilities, could worsen violations of facilities and current security challenges in the country.
He stated that the state of custodial facilities and general welfare of inmates, post NCS Act, is worrisome and requires immediate attention.
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