The growing population in prisons and correctional centers in Nigeria has become a source of worry to prisons official in the state.
The Controller of Nigeria Correctional Service in Rivers state OLUMIDE TINUOYE blamed the level of congestion in the Correctional Service to attitude of some courts and the judicial system in Rivers State.
OLUMIDE TINUOYE S during a courtesy call by management team of Public Complaint Commission in Rivers State, led by the Federal commissioner MARSHALL ISRAEL to the correctional facility and inspection tour noted that inmate who are currently in the facility are victims of cases which ordinarily should not be in the Nigeria correctional service
The Chief Correctional Officer in Rivers State Olumide Tinuoye commended President MUHAMMADU BUHARI, for signing the correctional act but said it is time for Nigerians especially the judicial system and other security agencies to start thinking on the possible ways of ensuring that cases which are not supposed to drag someone to prison should not go there to avoid congestion and reduce already existing congestion.
Reacting on the welfare of the inmates, Tinuoye said although the feeding budget of four hundred and fifty naira a day may not be enough but commended Federal Government for the level of vocational skill and educational standard at the Correctional Service.
Speaking to Newsmen at the end of the inspection, the Federal Commissioner, Public Complaints Commission in Rivers State, MARSHALL ISRAEL also commended Nigeria Correctional Service but stressed the need for collaboration between cooperate organization, multinational and other relevant group to enhance the welfare of the inmates in Port Harcourt correctional service.
“I’m impressed with what I am seeing here. The impression out there is that the inmates are not being fade well and that there are no good medical facilities. But I have seen the doctors and Nurses here. I have seen the store and lots of food stuffs. I have also seen inmates playing football and other recreational activities. So the situation is not as bad as portrayed out there. However, there’s need to improve on the area of skill acquisition and education for the inmates”.
“There is a need for serious partnership and collaboration with relevant agencies and Multinationals in Rivers State. They can support the inmates with drugs, food stuffs, clothes and vocational training. They can also help in the rehabilitation and integration of inmates when they leave the Correctional Service”.
“Ordinarily, some inmates are not supposed to be here based on the nature of their offenses. Some offenses are supposed to be resolved at the Police Station or the Court and possibly through alternative dispute resolution. Those on awaiting trial are more on the list and it’s not supposed to be. Some have been on awaiting trial for years. I will do a special report on this and send to appropriate agencies”.
“This Center was built to house 1,028 inmates but today its housing over 4,500 inmates including women and children. The Center is congested and the facility is overstretched”.
The Rivers State Commissioner Marshall Israel frowned at the Nigeria Justice System and call for quick dispense of Justice to avoid Congestion at the Correctional Centers.
He called on the Rivers State Government to see the need to collaborate with the Correctional Service, knowing that Eighty percent of the inmates are indigenes of the State while urging the Correctional Service to ensure that anyone who returns from the Service behaves better through the kind of training been received
OUR Correspondent reports that Port Harcourt Correctional Service is currently accommodating over four thousand inmates as against one thousand twenty-eight inmates.
Roll call in the correctional facility includes
Three Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixty males and Eighty-Two Female. Awaiting trial
Condemned Convicted male: Three Hundred and Sixty-Eight and Fourteen Female
while those serving life in prison are Forty-Seven Males