Posted by Garba Ahmad, Kaduna | 1 January 1970 | 3,191 times
Hundred-year-old Kaduna Convict Prison Friday received a pleasant surprise from the National Emergency Management agency (NEMA) – a donation it had not received in the past 50 years.
Controller General of Prisons, Nigerian Prison Service (NPS), Kaduna State Command, Abubakar Talba, could hardly hide his joy while receiving the relief materials comprising 500 pieces of blankets, 500 pieces of mats, 500 pieces of mattresses, 50 cartons of soap, 50 cartons Omo, 500 pieces of plastic plates, 500 pieces of plastic spoons, pieces of plastic bucket, 500 pieces of plastic cups and 500 pieces of mosquito nets from the Zonal Coordinator, NEMA North-West Zone, Musa Illah.
According to Talba, “The challenges in the prison formation in Kaduna are enormous, but with the support we have been getting from the national headquarters of the prison and the decongestion exercise that was carried out by the Kaduna State Government whereby 594 were released in 14 prisons across the state between January and December 2014, some of these challenges have been reduced drastically.
“Everywhere in the world, prisons are not run by government alone; multinational companies, corporate organisations, wealthy individuals and religious bodies are always involved, providing some basic needs of inmates. As you can see, we have 14 prisons in Kaduna State and most of these prisons have skill acquisition centres. We still have the materials, but with the number of prisoners that are being brought on a daily basis, by the increase of crime waves and the issue of insecurity that is happening in the country, we have challenges ahead of us and that is why we made this request to NEMA.
“The capacity of the prison is 530 and we have close to 1,000 inmates now. The Kaduna prison is 100 years. In the last 50 years, no agency of government or any multinational company donated the items that NEMA has donated to the prison today.”
Commenting to why the awaiting trial inmates supersede the convicts, Talba said: “It is true that the awaiting trial prisons in the various formations in the state outnumber the convicted inmates. It is the problem of the criminal case of administration; the police arrest, they do their investigation and they take these people to court. The problem we are having is the issue of transfer of prosecutors that are supposed to handle these cases; at times, they have a lot of challenges of getting key witnesses to appear before the court, at times because of the stigma involved, people do not want to appear in court. I have to commend the Chief Justice of Kaduna State. We have cases of awaiting trial inmates with capital offences that have been in the prisons for close to 10 years, but just two weeks ago, these people were released from the prisons.”
Talba commended the Governor of Kaduna state, Attorney General, the Chief Judge and the Commissioner of Police for ensuring that prisons in the state are decongested.
In his remarks, Illah, the NEMA Zonal Coordinator, North-West, said: “The agency is not mandated to take care of only people that are in distress; we are also to look into our sister organisations in the federal, state and local government councils where we think they need our support to make lives better for every Nigerian whether in or out of distress.”
•Photo shows NEMA DG Muhammad Sani-Sidi.
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