Fashola Hands Over 18 Buses To Nigerian Prisons, Tertiary Institutions
• "I think all of us should begin to pay attention to how the prison system is being managed", he says
Nov 11, 2013 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Monday dashed out a total of 18 brand new buses, four to the State Command of the Nigerian Prison Services and the seven tertiary institutions in the State, saying the time has come for governments at the appropriate levels to begin to pay adequate attention to the management of the prison system in the country. The Nigerian Prisons got four buses while each of the institutions went home with two buses
The beneficiary institutions were the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Lagos State University (LASU), Yaba College of Technology (Yaba Tech), Lagos State Polytechnics, Ikorodu (LASPOTECH), Federal College of Education and Technology, Akoka, Michael Otedola College of Education and Abraham Adesanya College of Education all of which were handed over the keys to the Haice buses.
In his remarks at the open grounds of the Lagos House, Ikeja, before handing over the keys to the Controller of the State Command of the Nigerian Prison Services, Mrs. Catharine Nkolika Ononye, the Governor said the vehicles represent the Government's "widow's might" to assist in the management of the prison system in the State.
He, however, decried the seeming lack of adequate attention from the Federal Government in the efficient management of the nation's prison service and prison system pointing out that Criminal Justice System does not start and end with the policemen but continues down the line with managing an efficient prison service and an efficient prison system.
Describing as unusual the fact that it is the States that now support the Prison Services to survive, Governor Fashola told the Controller, "Given the very public knowledge that we have of how the finances of our Federation is run, I thought that you would get more than enough of what you need from the 52 percent that the Federal Government keeps. But strangely it is out of the 26 percent that the 36 of us share that you still get from".
"It raises very serious questions about the commitment, the seriousness with which we have approached the management of the Criminal Justice System. It doesn't start and end alone with Policemen; it also continues down the line with managing an efficient prison service and an efficient prison system", the Governor said.
Wondering how the Command, which has been unable to buy buses, would be able to fuel or maintain them, the Governor praised the management of the Command for keeping the system going in spite of the shortcomings adding, "I think all of us should begin to pay attention to how you have managed to keep the system going".
"And it raises very deep questions about what is even happening inside. Are we able to feed prisoners, are prisoners able to get education, are we able to prepare them for life after they have served their sentence and if they are penitent?", he asked adding, "There is a cry out there; I won't join the debate, about death penalty or no death penalty. But what happens to those people who are not even subjected to death penalty. If we want to impose longer tenure of confinement, what will they be doing? Can we fund it?"
He further told the Controller, "We do this because you are in our territory. Many of those people that you process and manage are people for whom we are equally responsible. So temporarily, it may seem that Federal fiscal lines are blurred but we remain focused about what should be done at appropriate levels and what we must do really".
"If the Prison Services cannot be funded and if the states have to do it, then they should surrender the Federal share of the budget to the states and let's get on with our lives really because we seem to be doing everything by ourselves these days", the Governor said.
Noting that the Prison Sector is a sector after his heart, the Governor declared, "I am hoping that within the time left there is an opportunity to make some inroad into this sector of our lives because really I don't think we have paid enough attention".
Receiving the keys from the Governor, the State Controller of Prisons, Mrs. Catharine Ononye, thanked the Governor for the gesture saying it did not come as a surprise to her that the Governor responded positively to their request given his deep knowledge of the nation's Criminal Justice System.
She, however, implored the Governor to continue to take deeper interest in the welfare of the Prison System in the State and assist, especially in the area of improvement in the infrastructure of the prisons.
Promising to make judicious and effective use of the vehicles, the Controller, who was accompanied by some key officials of the Service, said the Sector also needed court cells where prisoners brought to court for trial could be kept prior to their trial in court pointing out that the lack of such cells in court had sometimes resulted in the death of some of the prisoners in the "Black Maria" where they are confined in the court premises.
Addressing representatives of the beneficiary institutions during the second presentation, Governor Fashola said the vehicles represented "a thank you gift" to the institutions for the role they played and the assistance they rendered to the State Government towards the successful hosting of the 18th National Sports Festival in the State.
Present at the occasions were the Chief of Staff, Mr. Lanre Babalola, Secretary to the State Government, Dr. (Mrs.) Oluranti Adebule, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaiye, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, his Education, Youth, Sports and Social Development and Waterfront Infrastructure Development counterparts, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, Mr. Enitan Oshodi and Prince Segun Oniru respectively, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Major Tunde Panox (retd) and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Social Development, Dr. (Mrs.) Abiola Awonuga among other members of the State Executive Council and top government functionaries.