July 17, 2023

We don’t borrow money from inmates – Prisons officers

Correctional Service has no hotel, says Spokesman

The management of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) has dismissed as false and unfounded, claims that its personnel were collecting loans from inmates of custodial centres.

The Service Public Relations Officer, Assistant Comptroller of Corrections Mr Abubakar Umar, dismissed the claim in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

According to him, NCoS personnel have more credible sources for obtaining loan facilities.

Umar also said that the claim made in online media, insinuating that the personnel were being paid less salaries than their counterparts in other paramilitary services in the Ministry of Interior, was also false.

NAN gathered that a Correctional Officer was reported to have written to President Bola Tinubu to complain about alleged corruption and poor remuneration in the service.

The aggrieved personnel claimed that they were being poorly paid and treated unfairly unlike their colleagues in other services under ministry.

According to the officer, the situation had forced some of the personnel to now depend on inmates to feed their families.

Umar, however dismissed the allegations, saying that those behind it wanted to distract the NCoS from the current reforms and transformations being undertaken by the management headed, by the Comptroller General, Haliru Nababa.

He said it was important to set the records straight and clear whatever doubts the malicious report would have created.

Umar explained that salaries of officers and men of the NCoS are fixed by the Revenue Mobilisation, Salaries and Wages Commission, just like other paramilitary services under the ministry.

“It is therefore, ridiculous to say that staff of the NCoS receive less than their counterparts in other services in the ministry of interior.

“Secondly, the infantile authors should know that salaries are paid directly to beneficiaries’ accounts, therefore, no Chief Executive, including the Comptroller General, has access to staff salaries and least to imagine deduction from same.

“Without being immodest, evidence of significant projects aimed at improving the welfare of staff by the Comptroller General since his assumption of office, abound.

“To the best of my knowledge, the allegation that personnel collect loans from inmates is not true as personnel have more credible sources of obtaining loan facilities, ” he said.

The NCoS spokesman explained that the Service runs a Microfinance Bank which provides soft loans and financial services for staff to meet personal and family needs.

He said this was in addition to the drive of the Comptroller General to shore up accommodation through the construction of new barracks, and reconstruction of dilapidated ones in several commands.

“It is also on record that the Corrections Welfare Insurance Scheme has continued to provide succour and soft-landing to staff that sustained injury or paid the ultimate prize while on duty.

“In addition, the Comptroller General, through the Corrections Cooperative Society, has floated a mass housing programme for personnel of the Service.

“This will see staff own their own houses in any location of their choice in Nigeria.

“Currently, construction of housing estates under the programme has commenced in Kuje and KYC estates in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, ” he said.

Umar said the service had also constructed and renovated office buildings in various state commands to boost the morale of personnel to perform their duties effectively and efficiently

“In the same vein, significant logistical support have been provided to promote efficiency among the personnel.

“These include operational vehicles recently distributed to all Armed Squad Commanders in states to boost rapid response in and around our facilities nationwide,” he added.

Umar enjoined the public to disregard the malicious reports as they are mere figments of the author’s imagination.

The NCoS spokesman assured that service would not relent in improving the well-being of both staff and inmates.

He enjoined the media to be professional and responsible, and endeavour to confirm the validity of information before publishing.