The Controller General of the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS), Jafa’aru Ahmed has warned officers and men of the service against taking excessive loans capable of causing them ‘financial embarrassment’.
The CG spoke in Abuja at the maiden Annual General Meeting AGM of the NPS MicroFinance Bank, Borstal MicroFinance Bank and Prisco MicroFinance Bank.
“We are doing things differently because we have realised our challenges in terms of staff, infrastructure, logistics and general welfare of the inmates. That has changed overtime and we have been able to purchase more vehicles and distribute them too to the extent that prisoners are taken to courts as and when due; infrastructural interventions have also been improved because everywhere you go in this country, you can see the rehabilitation and building of cells.
“We have changed the entire atmosphere. Though, we have staff shortage but we are able to collapse the shifts so that you have more men and the laxity on the part of staff has now been reduced because we now punish immediately. What has been done differently is that in the past, it took a very long time for erring staff to be punished but now, that has changed because they are punished with speed and this has sent a message of deterrence to the staff and ofcourse we still follow the laid down rules in punishing them. All these have served to douse the tension in our facilities”, he stated.
On excessive loan facilities extended to personnel of the service, Ahmed charged the banks to cut down on such ventures.
“I encourage banks to be careful with the loans that they give to these officers so that they do not enter into what the Civil Service rules call ‘financial embarrassment’ which is a very serious issue.
“When I found out that most of these officers were taking loans that could cause financial embarrassment, we decided to put a stop to it and we did that by ensuring that every person that is taking loans must have an approval for a letter of continuity to the bank where he is taking the loan to ensure that his salary continues to flow into that bank and that he does not financially embarrass the service because a financially embarrassed staff is not an asset but a liability because it means that a larger percentage of his time would now be spent on how he is going to survive with his family which will also affect the work that we do in the service.
“We have also directed the micro-finance banks giving them the loans to not make deductions unless we see the application of the staff and it is approved. This has put a check to the quantum of loans that the personnel also receive”, he explained.
The Prisons boss also dismissed allegations that the service was using the MicroFinance banks to deduct from the salaries of its personnel, saying anyone whose salary was deducted must have been those who took loans from the banks.
According to him, with the present level of supervision of the banks by regulatory authorities, it would be difficult for anyone to tamper with shareholders’ funds.
Established in 2012, the Prisons MicroFinance Bank now has branches in Kaduna, Enugu and Ibadan.