COVID-19: Correctional Service reopens custodial centres to admit offenders

The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) on Tuesday announced the reopening of its Custodial Centres to admit new offenders.

Mr Ja’afaru Ahmed, the Controller-General (CG) of Corrections, said this  in a statement  issued by the service spokesman, Deputy Controller (DC) Augustine Njoku, on Wednesday in Lagos.

Ahmed said that the action was necessary to support  the justice system in the country.

According to him, the action will enhance access to justice by offenders  and also facilitate the  administration of criminal justice in the country.

Ahmed also said that the  guidelines for the reopening of the centres had  been developed.

He urged all state controllers and Officers In-Charge of custodial centres to strictly adhere to the guidelines.

He said that some of the guidlines include: the  resumption of the admission of all categories of inmates into designated custodial centres.

“Only designated custodial centres with isolation units are to admit inmates and the state controllers must immediately avail the judges in their various states of  the list of such centres.

“All newly admitted inmates are to be isolated for the mandatory period of 14- days and COVID-19 screening must be conducted on all inmates at the isolation units.

“Confirmatory tests after the 14-days of self-isolation  mus be  conducted on the inmates at the isolation units.

” Also,  regular fumigation of the custodial centres should be carried out at agreed intervals,” the CG said.

Ahmed also stated that concerned NCoS officials had undergone basic training before being deployed in the various  isolation units.

He also  said that only legal counsel would be  allowed to visit  inmates and that all procedures and protocols of COVID-19 screening must be be strictly observed by them.

Ahmed urged state controllers to liaise with the judiciary and other stakeholders in criminal justice administration to ensure the smooth take-off of these guidelines aimed at combating COVID-19 in the centres. (NAN)