Inmates contribute money to fuel generators, says Public Complaints Commission

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The Public Complaints Commission has said the living condition of inmates in correctional centres across the country should be improved.

Speaking on Wednesday at a stakeholders/public hearing on developments within the Nigerian Correctional Service, the chief commissioner of PCC, Abimbola Ayo-Yusufu, said the commission has observed that the poor condition of the facilities affects the treatment and welfare of inmates.

“Our aim is to get the national assembly to pass bills that will bring about reforms from the police, judiciary to the correctional centres,” the News Agency of Nigeria quoted him as saying.

He called on stakeholders to suggest workable solutions to decongest the prisons, reintegrate inmates into society, and also support them with vocational skills.

Also speaking, Mike Uzodimma, PCC federal commissioner, said inmates in the Owerri correctional centre are dwelling in crowded cells without proper maintenance.

Uzodimma said the situation at the centre has caused many avoidable deaths, and disease outbreaks, particularly skin and respiratory conditions.

He said the clinic at Owerri correctional centre lacks adequate medication for the treatment of malaria, typhoid and other infections.

“Awaiting trial inmates charged for minor offences are regrettably accommodated in the same cell with persons being tried for kidnapping or hostage-taking.

“Inmates are grossly malnourished and pale, following complaints of the food rations being unfit for human consumption as contractors frequently supply unwholesome food items,” he said

The federal commissioner raised concern over delays in justice delivery and lack of access to skills acquisition programmes for inmates.

He called for adequate funding and the establishment of more centres, adding that inmates often contribute ‘fuel money’ to power the generator that pumps water for basic use.

“Clearly, Nigeria is trailing a far distance behind the civilised world in the quality of welfare received by the inmates,” he added.

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