By Michael Olugbode
The United States has partnered with the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) to enhance efficiency and service delivery of prisons in the nation.
A statement on Wednesday by the U.S. Embassy said it was partnering with Correctional Information Management Systems of the Nigeria Correctional Service to bring about efficient service delivery across Nigerian prisons (correctional centres).
The statement revealed that the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Office of the U.S. Embassy has donated equipment to support the Correctional Information Management Systems of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS).
The Acting Controller General of Nigeria Correctional Services, John Mmrabure, received the equipment which was presented by Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard.
The US Ambassador noted that the equipment donation was the first step in the partnership.
He said: “We are proud to partner with the Nigeria Correctional Service to incorporate information technology into the management practices which will address prolonged pre-trial detention in pursuit of the Nigerian government’s efforts to apply and enforce the rule of law and respect for human rights. These are tenets of a strong democracy and I am proud that the United States stands as your partner.”
The equipment donated included satellite broadband VSAT dishes, desktop computers, printers, internet routers, servers, and furniture.
The statement said a U.S. government grant worth $3.9 million will follow to train NCS officials in the use of the CIMS modules.
It noted that better information management will provide inmates in pre-trial detention improved access to lawyers, who will now be able to track detainees’ location easily.
It said the programme will work closely with Law Clinics in Nigerian universities to provide pro-bono service to inmates awaiting trial.
The statement noted that the support to the NCS, which began in 2017 with a pilot programme at Kuje Prison, has evolved into the Correctional Information Management Systems (CIMS), stressing that with this current donation, CIMS in three locations in Nasarawa State, specifically Keffi New, Keffi Old, and Lafia Custodial Centers, would be equipped.
It said the new equipment will enable the NCS to capture inmates’ biographical data at correctional facilities, thereby facilitating legal assistance and family contact.