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Relocation: ICRC DG calls for prison reforms

Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission
Aminu Diko, the Director-General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), has called for the relocation of prisons from city centres to the hinterlands through Public Private Partnership (PPP).

This call is contained in a statement signed by Mrs Deborah Okafor, the Head of Communications, ICRC and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.

The statement said that Diko made the call when he visited the Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazau (rtd), in Abuja.

He said that the move was necessary following the recent jailbreaks in Abuja and Kogi prisons.

This strategic decision, which is in line with global best practices, is premised on the fact that it would curb incessant jail breaks.

It will be difficult for the prisoners to escape and blend with local population with all the attendant risks.

Furthermore, such prisons would have land for correctional facilities that would equip the prisoners with new skills, preparatory to life after jail,’’ he said.

Diko also stated that the Federal Government was committed to building six new correctional centres, one each in every geo-political zone by 2020 but work has yet to begin.

The statement said that the minister, in his response, said that his ministry was currently reviewing the management of all prisons in the country.

Danbazau further said that the PPP procurement option was one of the issues under consideration by the ministry.

He expressed support for the reforms of the prison system the PPP arrangement offers but emphasised that the proposal must be thoroughly reviewed with all stakeholders.

The minister explained that issues regarding the correct valuation of the prison land and it would benefit the government needed to be brought out clearly.

He, however, said discussions were ongoing regarding the matter with many states including Lagos, Ogun, Akwa Ibom and Imo, that had accepted the relocation of the prisons in their states.

According to Danbazau, it costs the nation more than N10 billion to feed prison inmates every year but close to 70 per cent of the inmates are those awaiting trial.

He said that advanced countries benefited from prison labour in various sectors such as in the production of vehicle plate numbers as in the US.

Danbazau, however, stated that according to international laws, inmates who are awaiting trial, cannot be used for labour.

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