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Monday, November 29, 2021

Securing Nigeria’s Correctional Centres


NATIONS all over the world commit billions of dollars to secure their correctional centres, so it isn’t surprising that Nigeria seeks to achieve the same objective, despite its growing economic and political challenges.
TO secure correctional centres, scholars and researchers get grants for studies aimed at seeking for means to secure the centres, with some searching historical documents for the method previous societies used to control inmates.
INDEED, citizens call on the authorities concerned to secure correctional centres, while government officials and other stakeholders put pressure on the security forces to fortify centres for crime to be controlled.
NEEDLESS to say, this lies behind the recent statement by the Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, calling on the authorities concerned to secure correctional centres in the state through the provision of adequate security.
THE HOPE aligns with the call of the state Governor, taking into cognizance the disturbing trend of incessant attacks on correctional centres in neighboring states, where armed hoodlums succeeded in setting free inmates incarcerated for various criminal infractions .
WHEN correctional centres get adequate security from the police, unauthorized access into them become curtailed, preventing smuggling, a surge in criminal activities, escape of inmates from the premises, or violent confrontation between inmates and staff of the centres.
DEFINITELY, the absence of adequate security provisions, or the deficiency of it, led to a situation whereby 1,957 inmates gained freedom and 31 staff got injured through attacks on correctional centres during last year’s #EndSARS protests.
WITH successive attacks on correctional centres, the telltale signs of malaise plaguing the system become exposed, a factor that emboldens attackers towards carrying out further operations, since they now have the confidence that the security of the centres could be breached.
FOR instance, in June 24, 2016, a successful jail break took place at Kuje Correctional Centre, and encouraged by their success, other attackers raided another installation few days later in Kogi State, allowing 13 inmates to escape from the place.
IF correctional centres benefited from adequate security from the police, the rate at which the staff of the premises lose their lives would experience a decline, as the protection given them would be sufficient to deter the dangerous plans of unscrupulous attackers, who kill them for revenge or other reasons.
AT the old Kabba Correctional Centre in Kogi State for example, attackers engineered a raid leading to the disappearance of many staff of the correctional centre, while a warder was killed by inmates at Okene in 2019, after assailants struck with deadly weapons.
IN addition, the society benefits when security fortifies the nation’s correctional centres, as law-abiding citizens have less fears about possible violent attacks from disgruntled inmates who seek for revenge after they escape from their incarceration.
ALSO, improved security will have a positive reflection on crime prevention, especially as many criminal activities perpetrated in lots of places in the country arrive as a result of inmates who escape from centres through attacks by armed gangs.
THEREFORE, The Hope supports the call of Governor Akeredolu for improved security in correctional centres, as this benefits the society in the short and long term.
FOR the governor’s wish to happen, we suggest that the government and the police should evolve a holistic security programme for correctional centres, to prevent a situation where attacks on the premises led to the illegal freedom of 3,837 inmates in five months this year, through violent attacks on 10 correctional centres.
TO further improve the situation, state governors should look in the direction of implementing capital punishments with zeal, as inmates condemned under this provision usually fuel up violent confrontations on installations of the centres, through collaboration with officials and hoodlums in the society.
SINCE the deteriorating state of the centres encourages hardened and unrepentant people to attack them, the authorities should not only fortify them, but also make them habitable for inmates, as a way to curtail desperate plans towards an escape.
UNFORTUNATELY, correctional centre officials sometimes aid the attacks for pecuniary reasons, so the body responsible for hiring them should subject them to thorough scrutiny, and the bad eggs among them be flushed out so as to bring sanity to the system.
OF course, many Nigerians applaud the authorities for the name change from prisons to correctional centres, as this signifies a desire to sanitize the system, but reforms should be carried out to further improve the situation, because the malaise in the system rises with every passing day, and many sleep with only one eye closed for fear of attacks from inmates who escape from correctional centres.

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