Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has suggested the restructuring of Nigerian Prisons as antedote to the problem of prison congestion in the country.
Akeredolu stated this, during a courtesy visit by Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS), Ondo State Command, led by Comptroller of Prisons in the State, Compt. Suanu Kelani, in Akure yesterday.
The Governor explained that state governments in other climes also build and maintain prison structures apart from the federal government.
"There are state and Federal prisons, so why don't we decentralize the facility, there is nothing wrong with the state government building the structures.
"It won't continue to work this way with only the Federal government building and managing the prisons.
"No wonder some prisons are closing down, the point is not congestion, the problem is expansion and as long as we leave it as a Federal concern, it will always be a problem," he said.
Akeredolu further explained that the federal prison facilities were used for so many years, but were hardly maintained for years while crime rate increased on a daily basis, the situation that has been responsible for prison congestion.
He also assured the prison service of assistance particularly in providing ambulances, as well as solution to the problem of numerous inmates awaiting trial.
Earlier, the Prison Comptroller, Kelani, had pledged the Command's cooperation and support for the State government, especially within the ambit of Criminal Justice Administration, security and any other area deemed fit for its assistance and cooperation.
"The Command is desirous to partner with your administration in the realisation of your blueprint which is anchored on five cardinal programmes epitomised by acronym, JMPPR"
"The Command remains accessible to you particularly in the area of Agriculture and Entrepreneurship as we are willing to supply a reasonable level of manpower from the pool of our convicted males (CM) who indeed have few months to be discharged.
"This will undoubtedly reduce costs in terms of overhead and on the other hand, symbiotically expose the inmates to new farming techniques, boost their earning scheme policy and assist in their reintegration and entrepreneurial component.
Kelani also commended wife of the Governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu for generously donating items worth millions of naira, even in the face of the national economic recession, to the inmates of Owo Prison, describing her gesture as quite unprecedented in the annals of history in Ondo State.
He mentioned the challenges confronting with the command to include; relocation of the present command's office to a more befitting and congenial environment that will be suitable for its operational and administrative activities.