The Controller General of Corrections, Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), Ja’afaru Ahmed, has explained why most high profile convicts are being committed to Kuje Custodial Centre. A former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh joined other high profile inmates at the Kuje Custodial Centre last Tuesday after he was sentenced to a seven-year jail term.
Other high profile persons in the custodial center include; a former governor of Taraba State, Jolly Nyame; a former governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye and a former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu who was sentenced by a court in Lagos. Ahmed, while speaking with press men at the NCoS headquarters in Abuja, Wednesday, after he declared open the 14th anniversary workshop of the Correctional Welfare Insurance Scheme (CWIS), said the Kuje facility is preferred by courts because it is the nearest custody to the FCT where most of the cases were determined.
“You know most of the trials are taking place in Abuja and the nearest custodial centre that we have in Abuja is Kuje custodial centre,” he said. “The warrant says Kuje custodial centre and it’s not for me to say ‘go away’ and determine to the judge where he should commit them to custody.
They are committed to Kuje custodial centre and that’s how it is.” When asked if he would suggest that the high profile inmates be spread in custodial centres across the country, he said “we have our own internal ways of ensuring things are done better and I will definitely look into it and see how we will best manage them.” On the high numbers of visitors coming to see the high profile convicts, Ahmed said: “We have our rules and the rules are being obeyed and we will continue to give people opportunity for people to visit bearing in mind that most of them (convicted persons) are still going on appeals, some have exhausted their appeals to the Supreme Court and that is the end and others still have the opportunity of going on appeal.
So, we will allow their lawyers and family members to come and see them, perhaps they want to interact with them. “But their interaction will be conducted within the rule. the Nigerian Correctional Service has its own standing orders and every of its correctional officer knows the procedure of conducting visit for both convicts and awaiting trial.” While declaring open the CWIS workshop, the NCoS CG revealed that, between 2016 and 2019, his administration had been able to settle 2,408 retirement benefit cases, 548 medical claims and 593 death claims through the CWIS.