The Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello over the weekend expressed the readiness of the State Government to continue to assist the State Command of the Nigerian Prisons Service with equipment and facilities to ensure that the prisons remain safe at all times.
The SSG who stated this while responding to a request by the State Controller of Prisons, Mr. Tunde Ladipo for assistance on the provision of body scanners and installation of closed-circuit television to monitor inmates said he would channel the request to the State Security Trust Fund and Security Council.
Bello, however, called for a revisit of the option of relocating the prison yards across the nation to more spacious locations and embracing non-custodial punishment of offenders as few ways of decongesting the prisons, adding that prisons are overpopulated.
In his words: “The prisons in Lagos are over populated one way or the other. In fact, Ikoyi Prison has always been having a persistent problem on sanitation and this has remained unresolved. The prisons capacities have been exceeded and their facilities are overstretched. Transporting the inmates to court remains a serious burden to the staff as well”.
He said there was a time during the administration of former governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu that the State Government wanted to build massive prison yards in Epe and provide adequate facilities for members of staff in order to reduce the problems of overpopulation in the Prisons, but the proposal was rejected by the Federal Government.
Speaking earlier, the State Controller of Prisons, Mr. Tunde Ladipo who was accompanied by top officials, commended the Ambode-led administration for its constant assistance to the Prisons Service despite the fact that it is a federal agency.
He also sought the assistance of the State Government in providing security equipment like body scanners at the Prisons and the installation of closed-circuit cameras and watch towers to monitor the inmates.
Ladipo pleaded with the State Government to consider non-custodial sentences for people who run foul of the State Environmental Sanitation laws because many offenders convicted cannot pay the optional fine.