The Controller General of Nigerian Correctional Service, Ja’afaru Ahmed, has set up a panel to investigate Ikoyi Prisons following the exposure of corrupt practices in Nigerian prisons by Fisayo Soyombo, an undercover journalist.

The Nigeria Correctional Service, formerly the Nigerian Prisons, has sent a Save our Soul (SOS) message to the judiciary on the numerous cases of awaiting trial that posed serious challenges to the service.

The Controller of the Service in Imo State, Mr Chris Okoye, made the call when the executive members of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Imo Council, paid him a courtesy visit in his office on Wednesday.

He said that there were many awaiting trial inmates in the Owerri command whose cases were minor and needed to be cleared in the law courts.

He urged the judiciary and well meaning Nigerians to help out to discongest the centre.

Okoye thanked the NUJ members for the visit, saying that no society could do without the media as custodians of information.

He said that synergy between the media and the service could not be over emphasied, adding that the society had a very wrong impression about prisons that needed to be corrected by the media.

“The general perception about the prison is negative and in bad faith, it is nothing to write home about, but the service knows what it is doing.

“Through the media, the society will have a better understanding of what the new name stands for and the impact it has brought to the inmates.

“There is a great difference between the Nigerian Prisons Service and the Nigeria Correctional Service which involves custodian and non-custodian activities,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the controller said many positive developments had evolved in the service with the new name.

“The correcrtional centre has evolved a lot of changes with many correctional services put in place, while other activities have been upgraded.

“We have improved the educational services where the inmates now obtain certificates to the level of doctorate degrees.

“The counselling services are now well established with a team of pschologists and counsellors to better improve the psyche of the inmates and properly place them where they belonged.

“We have also improved the medical and welfare services as well as sporting activities to engage the inmates, while staff trianing and retraining through attendance of various courses are ongoing.

“There are also vocational centres for skills acquisition for the inmates, while these innovations from the new name have helped to check jail brakes and protests,” he said.

The State Social Welfare Officer of NCS, Mrs Chinyere Ogujiofor, requested that amnesty and jail delivery services be extended to Imo inmates whenever necessary as done in other states.

She said that it was long the Imo inmates enjoyed amnesty from the government, adding that such acts also helped to discongest the prisons.

Earlier, Mr Chris Akaraonye, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Imo Council, who led his executive members commended the controller of the correctional centre for the numerious achievements since he assumed office.

He said the NUJ was at the centre to introduce the executive and to renew partnership with the service as well as know how the new name had positively affected the centre.

He requested the service to keep journalists abreast of its activities.

Akaraonye described the NUJ as a bridge between the government and the masses.

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