The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau has explained why the Federal Government is investing in the building of prisons all over the country, saying it was the new direction under the current administration.
While speaking at the commissioning of some projects and newly acquired vehicles at the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) headquarters in Abuja, Dambazau said most of the existing prisons in the country were over 100 years old and needed to be replaced.
“We are building prisons but we are not increasing the number of prisons”, he said.
“Most likely, we are reducing it.” “Most of our prisons are more that a century old. What we are doing is to build new ones that meets the global standard.”
He said the new direction of the government was to focus on the persons involved in criminal acts and not the crime itself, saying it was the only way to reform offenders. “We have shifted focus from the crime to the criminals. We are not seeking vengeance for the fact that the offender is human and can change.”
Dambazau said it was in line with this vision that the government provided the vehicles to enhance the inmates’ access to justice while also taking care of their welfare. While charging the NPS to take good care of the vehicles and other projects executed by the government, Dambazau said there would be more improvements in the Service when the Nigerian Prisons and Correctional Service bill is finally accented to by President Muhammadu Buhari. Speaking earlier, the NPS Controller General, Ja’afaru Ahmed commended the minister and President Buhari for their supports to the Service, adding that the projects and vehicles commissioned were targeted at enhancing effectiveness and efficiency in the area of service delivery.
He said the 116 vehicles commissioned at the occasion were procured last year in addition to the 49 and 217 earlier procured in 2017 and 2016 respectively. The vehicles comprised of big and mini Green-Maria, ambulances, sewage trucks, water tankers and utility vans. He said the vehicles will be used to convey inmates to courts and ensure speedy dispensation of justice while also providing emergency health services and other operational activities.