Reps probe utilization of N165bn budgetary provision For Nigeria Correctional Service


The House of Representatives on Wednesday resolved to
investigate the utilization of the N165 billion appropriated for
Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) over the past two years.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion on “Urgent national importance on the deplorable state of Inmates and the unwholesome working conditions of Officers and Men of the Nigeria
Correctional Service despite huge budgetary allocations with attendant
adverse effects on security of custodial facilities and the new
mandate of the Service, sponsored by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi
Elumelu (Delta_PDP)

While moving the motion, Hon. Elumelu observed that upon the enactment of
the Nigeria Correctional Service Act 2019, Nigeria joined most
countries of the world in adopting modern correctional alternatives to
incarceration or imprisonment including non–custodial measures.

He however expressed grave concern over the plight of thousands of
Nigerians working in the Service, whom he described as the single most
important resource available to the correctional system and thus
prioritized the welfare of these Officers and men in line with
international best practices to propel them to optimal performance.

According to him, “the House is disturbed that despite this Act and increase in
budgetary allocations to the Nigerian Correctional Service to drive
its renewed mandate, the tempo and quality of the Service have
remained the same if not retrogressing

“The House is worried that the working conditions of Staff and
inmates’ welfare have deteriorated notwithstanding the over N165
billion budget allocations to the Service in the last two years.

“The House Observed that the Arms Squad unit of the Service still
parades obsoletes and substandard weapons despite over N1 billion
budget provision for prison biometrics, arms and ammunition in the
2020/2021 capital budget, thus, impeding its ability to deter, prevent
or respond effectively to both internal and external threats.

“The House is aware of deaths of correctional officers and men across
the country following attacks either on escort vehicles or custodial
facilities.

“The House also observed that Staff still buys or makes their uniform
till date regardless of the huge budget allocations provided for this
purpose, provision of uniform for inmates is nonexistence in most
Custodial centers.

“The House further observed that in addition to allegations of
non-utilization of budget allocations in the manner prescribed by the
National Assembly and administrative incompetence of drivers of change
in the rebranded Service, there are also claims of unscrupulous staff
promotion, denial of rights and benefits including hazard and duty
tour allowances levelled against the management of the Service.

“The House is concerned that the demoralizing effects of these
allegations, given increasing evidences of susceptibility of some
officers and men compromising security of custodial facilities, might
worsen violations of these facilities and current security challenges
in the country.

“The House is also concerned that the appalling state of custodial
facilities and general welfare of inmates, post NCS Act, is worrisome
and requires immediate attention”.

To this end, the House mandated its Committee on Reformatory
Institutions to investigate these allegations and report to the House
within 12 weeks for further legislative action.

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