As Nigeria Builds Modern 3,000 Capacity Prisons in Geopolitical Zones
There has been mixed reactions since the news broke out that a 3,000 capacity zonal Prison worth 13 Billion Naira is to be sited in Bauchi.
While some people in the state took to social media and other media platforms to ventilate their displeasure over the capital intensive Federal Government project describing it as a misplaced priority, many others saw the project as a welcome development for the state. They saw the proposed Prison as yet another opportunity for the State to play host to the North East zonal Project which is one out of the six 3,000 capacity Prisons to be built across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Already, that of the North West zone situated in Kano has been launched and construction is ongoing. Bori in Rivers State would be hosting the South South zonal Prison.
To many and indeed to his Royal Highness the Emir of Bauchi, Alh.(Dr) Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, it is a dream come true as God has answered the fervent prayers of the good people of Bauchi. The Emir has been consistent in his appeals to the government for the relocation of the Bauchi Central Prison from its present location in the heartbeat of Bauchi metropolis to a rather safer location away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The horrible memories of Boko Haram attacks on the prison facility in 2010 is still fresh in the minds of the peace loving people of Bauchi.
Nobody is doubting the strategic disposition of Bauchi being the gateway to the the North East zone. It is arguably the most suitable city for the prison project because of the relative peace it enjoys far better than other States in the zone that had, at one point or the other experienced the Boko Haram insurgency.
In addition, Bauchi serves as zonal headquarters to many government establishments. All the paramilitary services have their Zonal headquarters in Bauchi including the Zone ‘C’ headquarters of the Nigerian Prisons Service. This should even be the more reason why the 3000 capacity Zonal Prison should be situated in Bauchi for administrative convenience.
The ultimate goal of building these prisons, as disclosed by the Minister of Interior, Lt.Gen.Abdurrahman Dambazau (rtd) during the ground breaking event in Kano, was to have a prison system that encourages and supports humane custody, reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders. This means with the establishment of an ultra modern Prison in the state, there would be remarkable improvement in the administration of criminal Justice system in the state.
When built, the modern prison will come along with standard working facilities such as standard school for inmates educational needs, a health facility, skill acquisition workshops for carpentry, tailoring, knitting, barbing, shoe and cap making, laundry services etc which are the basic ingredients for effective inmates reformation and rehabilitation. The teething problem of congestion the now 500 capacity Bauchi Prison is facing will be a thing of the past the moment the new Prison takes off.That will as well pave way for proper and effective classification of inmates according to their offences. In a nutshell, it will be dawn of a new era whereby Bauchi would be placed on the global map of cities boasting of modern correctional facilities.
The provision of world class Prisons such as this one has been the ambition of the pragmatic Controller General of Prisons, Ja’afaru Ahmed. His quest to transform the nation’s Prisons from what many see as punishment grounds into correctional and reformation centres as obtained in civilized climes is gradually coming to fruition.
We wish that as he was able to persuade the government to embark on the building of 3,000 capacity Prison in each of the six geopolitical zones, the CGPS will be able to further secure government’s approval for the total overhauling of the entire Prison structures in the country so as to meet up with the international best practices on custody and reformation.