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Reps move to investigate Aregbesola, Interior Ministry over Nigerian Correctional Service’ N165bn budgetary provisions

•Decry deplorable state of inmates, poor working condition of personnel

Access Bank
The House of Representatives on Wednesday resolved to investigate the utilization of the N165 billion appropriated for the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) over the past two years.
The resolution followed 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 Nigeria Correctional Service despite huge budgetary allocations with attendant adverse effects on security of custodial facilities and the new mandate of the Service”, sponsored by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (Delta PDP)

While moving the motion, Elumelu observed that upon the enactment of the Nigeria Correctional Service Act 2019, Nigeria joined most countries of the world in adopting modern correctional alternatives to incarceration or imprisonment including non–custodial measures.

He however expressed grave concern over the plight of Nigerians working in the Service, whom he described as the single most important resource available to the correctional system. He said  it was necessary therefore to prioritise the welfare of these officers and men in line with international best practices to propel them to optimal performance.

According to him, “The House is disturbed that despite this Act and increase in budgetary allocations to the Nigerian Correctional Service to drive its renewed mandate, the tempo and quality of the Service have remained the same if not retrogressing

“The House is worried that the working conditions of Staff and inmates’ welfare have deteriorated notwithstanding the over N165 billion budget allocations to the Service in the last two years.

“The House observed that the Arms Squad unit of the Service still parades obsoletes and substandard weapons despite over N1 billion budget provision for prison biometrics, arms and ammunition in the 2020/2021 capital budget, thus, impeding its ability to deter, prevent or respond effectively to both internal and external threats.

“The House is aware of deaths of correctional officers and men across the country following attacks either on escort vehicles or custodial facilities.

“The House also observed that 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.

“The House further observed that in addition to allegations of non-utilization of budget allocations in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly and administrative incompetence of drivers of change in the rebranded Service, there are also claims of unscrupulous staff promotion, denial of rights and benefits including hazard and duty tour allowances levelled against the management of the Service.

“The House is concerned that the demoralizing effects of these allegations, given increasing evidences of susceptibility of some officers and men compromising security of custodial facilities, might worsen violations of these facilities and current security challenges in the country.

“The House is also concerned that the appalling state of custodial facilities and general welfare of inmates, post NCS Act, is worrisome and requires immediate attention.”

Consequently, the House mandated its Committee on Reformatory Institutions to investigate these allegations and report to the House within 12 weeks for further legislative action.

News Express
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