Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, has affirmed Federal Government’s commitment to the safety and better treatment of female inmates of prisons in the country.
Dambazau made this known at the launching of a training manual for female prisoners on Monday in Abuja, and said that government’s resolve on the female inmates was part of Prisons’ reforms.
He said that the manual, “A gender sensitive approach to the treatment of women prisoners in Nigeria”, developed by Carmelite Prisoners’ Interest Organisation (CAPIO), was established to address the welfare and treatment of female inmates.
According to him, every female prisoner will benefit from this development as a committee, in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, has been set up to oversee the affairs of the female inmates.
“They have been going round the prisons across the country to know the status of the inmates.
“We will continue to ensure that we get the best facilities and ensure good welfare of prisoners, particularly in the provision of vehicles to convey them to court during trials.
“A memo has been sent to the Federal Government and all it entails is to improve on the facilities needed for the prisons.
“The challenges are there, no doubt, but we will continue in our own way to ensure that we have an improved prison system across the country,” he said.
On his part, Controller-General of Nigeria Prisons Service, Alhaji Ja ‘afaru Ahmed, said that it was the duty of the service to reform for reintegration into the society.
“We have ensured a good prison environment in all the prisons across the country with the provision of large number of drugs in all the medical centres in the prisons.
“We are no longer beggars of drugs. There is no prison you will enter today that you won’t find loads of drugs in their medical centre.
“We do not intend to stop there as we will continue to ensure female prisoners are well attended to.
“You will see improvement in 2019, I promise,” he stated.
Also, Rev. Ambrose Ekeroku, Executive Director of CAPIO, said that the organisation was set to advocate for the rights, welfare and rehabilitation of prisoners in Nigeria.
“CAPIO has for the past 25 years championed advocacy in the areas of penal reforms, prison sector reforms and criminal justice reforms,” he said.
Ekeroku said that the manual was painstakingly developed by notable gender consultants and that it was a key deliverable of one of CAPIO’s ground-breaking projects.
“The project was implemented by CAPIO in Partnership with National Human Rights Commission and some civil society organisations.
“`The project seeks to influence relevant authorities to adopt and sustain gender-sensitive principles and best practices in prison management in Nigeria.
“The project was borne out of the need to safeguard the specific needs of women in incarceration,” he said.
He said that pregnant and nursing inmates had very little access to the recommended care for people of their status.
“Female prisoners do not have the luxury of engaging in physical recreational activities like football, which is available to their male counterparts.
“There are also allegations of misconduct and exploitation of female inmates by p