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Reps to commence inquest into N165bn budgeted for Correctional Services in last two years

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday pledged to investigate the N165 billion budgeted to the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) over the past two years, regarding its utilisation on various projects.

The resolution followed a motion of urgent public importance by Rep. Ndudi Elumelu, the minority leader of the House on the floor of the House on Wednesday in Abuja.

Elumelu’s stance was a sequel to 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 service in spite of huge budgetary allocations with attendant adverse effects on security of custodial facilities.”

In his motion, Elumelu said upon the enactment of the NCS Act 2019, Nigeria joined most countries in adopting modern correctional alternatives to incarceration or imprisonment including non–custodial measures.

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He said, “The extant Act situates the workforce of NCS as the single most important resource available to the correctional system and thus prioritised the welfare of officers and men.

“This was in line with international best practices to propel them to optimal performance.

“Despite the Act and increased in budgetary allocations to the NCS to drive its renewed mandate, the tempo, and quality of the service had remained the same.

“The working conditions of staff and inmates’ welfare had deteriorated notwithstanding the over N165 billion budget allocations to the Service in the last two years,” Elumelu railed.

According to him, the Arms Squad unit of the service still parades obsolete and substandard weapons despite over N1 billion budget provision for Prison Biometrics, Arms and Ammunition in the 2020 to 2021 Capital budget.

“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

“There are also claims of unscrupulous staff promotion, denial of rights and benefits, including hazard and duty tour allowances leveled against the management of the Service,” he added.

He said the effects of these allegations, given increasing pieces of evidence of susceptibility of some officers compromising the security of custodial facilities, could worsen violations of facilities and current security challenges in the country.

The House resolved to mandate the Committee on Reformatory Institutions to investigate the allegations and report to the House within twelve weeks for further legislative action.

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