Koton Karfe - The Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, has called on State Governments to re-double efforts in assisting the Federal Government to improve condition of prisoners.
Moro made the call during the inauguration of the Medium Security Prison at Koton Karfe, Kogi State.
He said that since more than 80 per cent of inmates in prisons nationwide were members of communities of those states, state governments had a responsibility to ensure their safety and wellbeing.
"State governments must re-double their efforts in discharging their responsibility to all citizens by assisting the Federal Government in ameliorating the condition of prisoners in their states.
"The decongestion of prisons is a paramount and cardinal element in the transformation agenda of the Federal Government that is why it built another prison here at Koton Karfe to decongest the old prison,'' Moro said.
He said that the rehabilitation and construction of prisons would not only give them a facelift but enable the Nigeria Prisons Service to carry out its mandate of correction and rehabilitation of prisoners.
Moro said that the prisons had in recent times been targets of armed bandits.
He appealed to the service to double its efforts in providing adequate security.
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Governor Idris Wada of Kogi, who was represented by his Senior Security Adviser, Martin Ojonume, said that the location of some prisons sometimes made them vulnerable to attacks.
Wada urged the service and the ministry to ensure the use of high quality materials during construction of prisons to make them resistant to explosive devises and random attacks.
He also called for the provision of a special budget to maintain the prisons nationwide.
Peter Expendu, the Controller-General of the Nigeria Prisons Service, said the new prison at Koton Karfe had an 80-bed capacity and would accommodate 160 inmates.
Expendu said the completion of the facility was Federal Government’s commitment to ameliorating the plight of inmates in the state as the old prison could not accommodate the high number of inmates.
He said that the service needed more financial support in order to expand the initial design of the prison to accommodate more inmates and acquire court escort duty vehicles.
Expendu said that the service also needed to acquire educational and vocational facilities and construct staff barracks with infrastructure.