Lately, a lot of events have taken place in the Nigerian Prisons Service under the leadership of Ja’afaru Ahmed, the Controller – General in his quest to radically transform and or reform our prisons to a very enviable height. Already, he is known as a man full of ideas only waiting for this opportunity to explode, as evident by the un-precedented achievements he has made out of which just a few will be chronicled here.
The most recent and trending is the $20,000 UNESCO, 2018 Confucius price for literacy awarded to the prisons service for its giant stride in education. Over 400 inmates have enrolled for various degrees and diploma programmes run by the National Open University as an initiative of Ja’afaru Ahmed, the Controller – General.
This partnership which is aimed at brightening the hope and future of prison inmates is one of the most noble ideas that won an international acclaim and a pride of place for the prisons leadership in the headquarters of UNESCO. Through this effort, Ja’afaru has rekindled and resurrected hope to a set of people who are in despair.
There is nothing more pleasing to humanity and to God Almighty, our creator than this. Pursuance of education is the biggest investment that will bring our country out of ignorance, poverty and want and most importantly, reduce crime. It is through education that we can have growth, development and prosperity, consequences of which we can have an enduring legacy. Fortunately for the Nigerian Prisons Service, the Controller – General’s intellectual curiosity is what stands him out.
In the letter of award, UNESCO indicated that it ‘’highly appreciated the prison school programme for its innovative approach in equipping prisoners with useful skills and professions to facilitate income generation upon discharge and discourage future crime.
Similar sentiment has been expressed by some staffers since Ja’afaru became the Controller – General, an indication that staff morale has been very high. Training of all cadres of personnel has also been a permanent feature of his administration. He was able to revamp the intelligence unit to be more purposeful, skilful and pro-active. This strategy helped a great deal to reduce the high rate of jail break.
To further tighten security, biometrics of both staff and inmates were introduced by Ja’afaru. With this, record and data of all offenders are kept and can be used for references. As for the staff, it also ensures that it is practically impossible to have non-staff on the service’s payroll. About seven number 3,000 capacity prisons of international standard are to be built, one in each geo-political zone and the federal capital territory; beginning with two, one each in Kano and Port Harcourt plus the FCT.
Each will have state of the art facilities such as staff quarters, clinic, recreation centres and football pitch among others. In addition to this, work is going on in almost all the prisons nationwide in order to reconstruct or put up new structures as replacement to the dilapidated and archaic buildings that have come to be synonymous with our prisons.
The Controller – General has just concluded work on the Prison Academy that was started since the year 2010 with academic exercises currently going on there. An auditorium has also been built for the prisons staff college in Kaduna. Permanent structures are being provided for all states that were before now using rented accommodation as offices.
The Controller – General in another swift move also introduced a system where inmates are deradicalised in order to reduce societal problems. The idea is that, inmates, when freed will not go back to their bad ways which can harm society. I am re-assured now, more than ever before that the Controller – General is setting new standards for his organisation and is certainly in a class of his own at this critical moment of our national life.
In quest for a reformed prisons service, the administration of Ja’afaru Ahmed is constantly in tune with what our constitution counsel. In other words, the oath of office he took on assumption of duty is clearly manifest in his official conduct. He believes in teamwork and collaborative effort and by the same token abhors misdeeds and dereliction of duty. This attitude and principle strengthen institutions which our country is trying to imbibe. In doing that he has always treaded the path of caution as he aims to realise the Nigeria dream.
–Dr. Yarima wrote in from Abuja