The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has said the Nigerian Correctional Service is becoming digitised as a command and control room is now established at the National Headquarters, while effective surveillance is mounted in the custodial centres to monitor the activities in some selected centres.
Aregbesola stated this in his speech at the inauguration of service operational vehicles, junior staff quarters, Information and Communications Technology command and control rooms, unveiling of new uniform for staff of the NCoS and presentation of award to selected staff for gallantry, on Monday.
He also said with this new development, inmates would be monitored without any violation of their rights.
Aregbesola noted, “The NCoS is now, in line with what is obtainable internationally, becoming digitised. A Command and Control room is now established at the National Headquarters, while effective surveillance is mounted in the custodial centres to monitor the activities in some selected centres. This is a laudable landmark as it is the first of its kind in the history of the NCoS.
“With eagle eyes on the custodial centres at all times, inmates can be monitored without any violation of their rights. With this development, jailbreaks and riots in our custodial centres can be prevented, checked and nipped in the bud before it escalates and external attacks can also be foiled since the service now has eyes everywhere.”
Speaking on the inauguration, Aregbesola explained that the operational vehicles would help convey inmates to court and have their date with justice.
He also added that the new uniform symbolised “the transition from a punitive prison system to a reformatory corrections system that is now the philosophy of the service.”
The Minister explained, “The NCoS is required by law to convey awaiting trial inmates in custody to have their days in court. This is integral to the justice delivery system. Since the courts cannot possibly be there for a particular suspect’s case, inability to appear in court would lead to adjournment and prolonged trial.
“Therefore, operational vehicles have been purchased to ease the movement of inmates to, and from court, and have their date with justice. It is my firm belief that these vehicles will serve the purpose.
“In line with the Service’s commitment to improvement of staff welfare, we are also here today to inaugurate buildings meant for the accommodation of junior staff. This will enhance early resumption to duty and service delivery as expected since they will have the opportunity of living right inside the National Headquarters.
“In recent times, some custodial centres were subjected to external attacks, leading to the escape of some inmates. In bringing them back to custody, some members of staff lost their lives while others sustained varying injuries in the process. To all those officers that had performed their duties as expected of them during these incidents, we salute your doggedness, sense of patriotism and gallantry.
“Rewarding such gallant officers is in line with the NCoS Act, 2019 section 26 subsection 2a and b which states that the purpose of the Correctional Officers Reward Fund is for ‘rewarding correctional officers for extra or special service such as gallantry, long or meritorious service.’
“The change in the name from Nigerian Prisons Service to Nigerian Correctional Service requires a new face in the Service uniform that will reflect corrections not only as a name but in practice. We are also here therefore to unveil the new uniform for the NCoS.”
In his welcome address, the Controller General of Corrections, Haliru Nababa, said the inaugurated projects were pivotal to the actualisation of the NCoS core mandates.
Nababa added that, with the new development, “the Service will experience significant progress in service-delivery.
“Indeed, the NCoS is highly motivated and poised to conquer more grounds, justifying all of governments’ huge investments in the Service.”
The Minister inaugurated 40 operational vehicles, a block of junior staff barracks and a situation/monitoring room.