United Bank Africa

Controller Takes Delivery Of Large Quantity Of Drugs For Prisoners In A’Ibom

The Akwa Ibom command of the Nigeria Prison Services has taken delivery of large quantities of drugs to address the health needs of inmates across four Prisons in the state.
Mr Alex Oditah, the new Controller of Prisons in Akwa Ibom, who confirmed the delivery in Uyo.
He said the drugs, provided by the Controller-General of Nigerian Prisons, Alhaji Ja’afaru Ahmed, would be distributed to prisons within his Command in Eket, Ikot Abasi, Ikot Ekpene and Uyo.
He also said that the command, with the capacity for had about 1,366 inmates, now has an overstretched capacity facility with 2,363 inmates as at Nov. 30 this year.
“The kind of drugs, the quality and the quantity the Controller-General has given to us is unprecedented. I have never seen such since I joined the service.
“Before now we scarcely have these drugs but now all manner of drugs are available in large quantities through the controller general.We have qualified personnel to administer these drugs. The doctors have no reason to complain now because these drugs are more than sufficient to cover for a very long time.
“The expiry dates for these drugs span more than three or four years. Our capacity in the command is 1,366 but as at Nov. 30 this year we logged 2,363,” Oditah said.
He said that the controller-general had been magnanimous in providing vehicles for controllers of prisons’ official duties and movement of inmates to and from prison facilities and the courts.
Oditah said: “I assumed duty in the command in August 2017. I visited Prisons within the Command in Eket, Ikot Abasi, Ikot Ekpene and Uyo as soon as I assumed duties.
“It was very clear that the Prisons are grossly congested. But generally the prisons in the state are really peaceful. I communicated the challenges we have to the Controller General of Prisons, Alhaji Ja’afaru Ahmed, and he has been very wonderful and fantastic.
“Since he took over he has assured that he will ensure that the service moves forward.He assured that there would be no business as usual. He has provided official vehicles to every Controller of prisons and vehicles for the movement of prisoners to court.
“He has indeed been funding the services and maintenance of these vehicles. I want to congratulate him, pray and appeal to the Almighty God to ensure that this job he started he will finish it well.”
He, however, said that although the prison service was doing well in Akwa Ibom, it required more logistics support from the state government.
Oditah said that such logistics support were needed mainly because the prison facilities in the state were being overstretched due to increasing number of inmates.
“But although the service is doing well, it cannot do it alone. My appeal to the state government is to come and support the service especially in area of logistics.The facilities are overstretched and even the vehicles that the comptroller-general had provided are also overstretched. So if the state government could help we will appreciate it so much,’’ he said.
Oditah, who could not immediately give the figure on how many awaiting trials inmates were in prisons in Akwa Ibom, disclosed that over 80 per cent inmates are awaiting trial currently in the state.
He also said that the heat-up of the political environment, increasing rate of cultism, kidnapping, robbery, rape and even child theft resulted in current prison congestion in Akwa Ibom.
“I discovered that the number of prisoners kept increasing by the day given that the political environment is heated up; cultism is increasing; so are kidnapping, robbery, rape and even child theft.Those are reasons why our prisons here are being congested. They bring them every day. The crime rate in Akwa Ibom is not too high as compared to neighbouring states but it is on the increase.
“The Christmas season is approaching, local government elections are here; of course crime rate is expected to increase. More people will be brought to prisons. Our expectation is that the state government
will assist
He said that although the prison command in Akwa Ibom do not have facilities for condemned prisoners such cases whenever they occur could be moved to facilities that could accommodate them.
He also stated that the staff strength in the state prison command were not enough but the authorities could manage with what is relatively available.
He also advised medical personnel in prisons in the state to ensure that the drugs are dispensed judiciously whenever they take delivery in their respective domain.
He also advised budget planners, and the national assembly should increase a lot for the prisons bearing in mind the number of youths coming out of schools searching for jobs or going into crime.
“There is no excuse for crime, but the truth is that crimes are committed.The Prison is  the national security goal keeper. Government should pay more attention to the rehabilitate and refurbish the prisons,” he said.