Nigeria Prisons Service has acquired 25 new operational and utility vehicles to ease the logistic challenges of conveying inmates to courts.
The Minister of Interior, Abba Moro while commissioning the vehicles at the Prisons’ national headquarters in Abuja said President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the purchase of additional forty vehicles to further help the Service do its work.
He said: “It is often said that justice delayed is justice denied; the provision of these twenty-five vehicles comprising big and Mini Black Maria, Ambulance and water tanker is therefore meant to facilitate inmates’ attendance to courts as well as ensuring their emergency health services.
The issue of inadequate vehicles to convey the inmates to courts and attend to other operational duties is not only worrisome to the Nigerian Prisons Service, but also of a great concern to my Ministry and indeed the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Moro noted that the major challenge of the nation’s prison system has been the management of ‘Awaiting Trial Persons’ (ATP) who unfortunately comprises between 70 to 75 percent of total inmates with respect to court escort duty vehicles required for their conveyance from prisons to courts.
The Minister revealed that while making provision for vehicles for conveyance of inmates, government was also working on measures to decongest prisons nationwide so that the Service could settle down to its primary function of reforming and rehabilitation of inmates.
He therefore, urged officers and those in charge of vehicles to take adequate care of them.
Meanwhile, Moro has appealed to State governments to collaborate with the Federal government to improve the prisons in their various states, stressing that about 80percent of the inmates are indigenes of the state where the Prison is located.
“A few states have actually partnered with the Federal government on issue affecting the Prisons.”
Daily Trust’s investigation revealed that the 20 Mini-Black Maria vehicles cost N8.125,000 each while the only 1 big Black Maria was purchased for N25.975.500. Our reporter couldn’t get the price for the ambulance and water tanker.
While speaking earlier, the Comptroller-General of Prisons, Zakari Ohinoyi Ibrahim said the vehicles were purchased with funds from the 2013 budget allocation.
The CG said the vehicles will be distributed to prisons formations all over the country after the commissioning programme.
He said the provision of the vehicles will go a long way in not only helping to convey inmates to courts but will also reduce congestion in the prisons.