The Ondo State Governor, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, on Thursday, suggested the restructuring of Nigerian Prisons to include State Governments in a bid to decongest them.
Akeredolu gave the advice during a courtesy visit by Nigerian Prisons Service to the Governor’s office in Akure.
He explained that state governments in other climes also build and maintain prison structures apart from the federal government.
“There are state and Federal prisons, so why don’t we decentralize it, there is nothing wrong with the state government building the structures.
“It won’t continue to work this way with only the Federal government building and managing the prisons.
“No wonder some prisons are closing down, the point is not congestion, the problem is expansion and as long as we leave it as a Federal concern, it will always be a problem,” he said.
The governor further explained that the federal prison facilities were used for so many years but were hardly maintained for so many years while crime increased on a daily basis, hence, the congestion.
He also assured the prison service of assistance with vehicles for ambulances, and to also look into the problem of numerous persons awaiting trial.
Akeredolu stated this, during a courtesy visit by Controller of Prisons, Ondo State Command, Compt. Suanu Kelani who led other top management of the command in the State to the Governor’s office in Akure yesterday.
Earlier, the Prison Controller, Kelani, pledged the Command’s cooperation and support for the State government, especially within the ambit of Criminal Justice Administration, security and any other area deemed fit for its assistance and cooperation.
“The Command is desirous to partner with your administration in the realisation of your blueprint which is anchored on five cardinal programmes epitomised by acronym, JMPPR”
“The Command remains accessible to you particularly in the area of Agriculture and Entrepreneurship as we are willing to supply a reasonable level of manpower from the pool of our convicted males (CM) who indeed have few months to discharge.
“This will undoubtedly reduce costs in terms of overhead and on the other hand, symbiotically expose the inmates to new farming techniques, boost their earning scheme policy and assist in their reintegration and entrepreneurial component.
Kelani also commended wife of the Governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu for generously donating items worth millions of naira, even in the face of the national economy recession, to the inmates of Owo Prison, describing her gesture as quite unprecedented in the annals of history in Ondo State.
He mentioned the challenges being confronted with the command to include; relocation of the present command’s office to a more befitting and congenial environment that will be suitable for its operational and administrative activities.
Other challenges, according to him were operational vehicles such as short Green Maria strictly for court duties, Hilux vans, ambulances and buses for staff conveyance to duties.
“It is on record that Ondo State Command maintains five Persons with high number of awaiting trial persons. Most times, court duties become difficult due to lack of operational vehicles and ambulances when inmates are sick and so require outside hospital’s attention
“Also, drugs and other medicament for the treatment of inmates and staff when infirmed and the re-establishment of the survey plan for Owo Prison, as well, pose a serious challenge to the Command”, he said.