The Federal Commissioner representing Rivers State in the Public Complaints Commission Hon. Marshall Israel visited the PORTHARCOURT PRISONS for an on the spot inspection and Investigation.
Speaking to newsmen at the end of the inspection, the Federal Commissioner, Public Complaint Commission in Rivers State, Hon. Marshall Israel commended Nigeria Correctional Service but stressed on the need for collaboration between cooperate organizations, Multinationals and other relevant agencies to enhance the welfare of the inmates in Port Harcourt Correctional Service.
“I’m impressed with what I am seeing here. The impression out there is that the inmates are not being fade well and that there are no good medical facilities. But I have seen the doctors and Nurses here. I have seen the store and lots of food stuffs. I have also seen inmates playing football and other recreational activities. So the situation is not as bad as portrayed out there. However, there’s need to improve on the area of skill acquisition and education for the inmates”.
“There is a need for serious partnership and collaboration with relevant agencies and Multinationals in Rivers State. They can support the inmates with drugs, food stuffs, clothes and vocational training. They can also help in the rehabilitation and integration of inmates when they leave the Correctional Service”.
The People’s Commissioner frowned at the Nigeria Justice System and call for quick dispense of Justice to avoid Congestion at the Correctional Centers.
“Ordinarily, some inmates are not supposed to be here based on the nature of their offenses. Some offenses are supposed to be resolved at the Police Station or the Court and possibly through alternative dispute resolution. Those on awaiting trial are more on the list and it’s not supposed to be. Some have been on awaiting trial for years. I will do a special report on this and send to appropriate agencies”.
“This Center was built to house 1,028 inmates but today its housing over 4,500 inmates including women and children. The Center is congested and the facility is overstretched”.
Marshall Isreal called on Rivers State Government to see the need to collaborate with the Correctional Service, knowing that Eighty percent of the inmates are indigenes of the State while urging the Correctional Service to ensure that anyone who returns from the Service behaves better through the kind of training been received.
Controller of Nigeria Correctional Service in Rivers State, Olumide Tinuoye blamed the level of congestion in the Correctional Service to judicial trails in the Justice system in Rivers State and Nigeria.
While commending the signing of Correctional ACT by President MUHAMMADU BUHARI, He said its time for Nigeria judicial system and other security agencies to start thinking on the possible ways of ensuring that cases which are not suppose to drag someone to prison does not go there to avoid congestion and reduce already existing congestion.
Reacting on the welfare of the inmates, Tinuoye said although the feeding budget of four hundred and fifty naira a day may not be enough but commended Federal Government for the level of vocational skill and educational standard at the Correctional Service.
Correspondent reports that Port Harcourt Nigerian Correctional Service is currently accommodating over four thousand inmates against estimated one thousand twenty-eight inmates including three thousand, eight hundred and sixty male remand and awaiting trial and eighty-two Female.
Condemned and Convicted male are three hundred and sixty-eight and fourteen female while male on life sentence are forty-seven inmates.