The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) has donated vocational and sporting equipment to the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) to fast track rehabilitation of detained Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State.
The programme targeted at rehabilitating and reintegrating alleged Boko Haram insurgents who are being remanded in NCoS facilities in Maiduguri, Borno.
UNODC’s Country Representative, Dr Oliver Stolpe, disclosed this during the handing over of the infrastructural projects (Phase II), on Tuesday in Maiduguri.
He said the project was being implemented with support of the Government of Germany.
Stolpe said that UNODC, NCoS and the Government of Germany forged a partnership in 2020, aimed at improving the rehabilitation facilities and reintegrating capabilities of Maiduguri prison.
He said the programme had trained some personnel of the service on Nelson Mandela Rules in dynamic security management and integrating sports into holistic rehabilitation programme.
The UNODC official said the training exercise was conducted under the Phase I of the programme in 2021.
“Despite its critical role in rehabilitating offenders, including those who perpetuated acts of terrorism only limited resources have been invested both by government and its partners,” he said.
Accordingto him, the ultimate objective of imprisonment is to protect society against crimes and terrorism, it can only be achieved if the period of imprisonment is used to ensure that offenders are both able to support themselves and willing to lead a law-abiding life upon release.
“To this regards, UNODC launched the project to improve access to light and water for inmates and staff, through provision and installation of eco-friendly solar energy sources to supplement the current prison electrical system with up to 72 hours of power reserve.
“Improved access to education through the refurbishment of the classrooms and provision of standard educational materials; and improved mental and physical health and well-being of prisoners through constructions of extensive new sports facilities, including football, volleyball and badminton pitches, and the provision of the respective sports equipment,” Stolpe said.
This, he said, seek to aid operationalisation of the 2021 UN Common Position on Incarceration (UNCPI), which aimed at shifting policies towards prevention and custodial measures, improving prison conditions, strengthening and advancing the rehabilitation of offenders.
Mr Gimba Manu, Controller of Corrections incharge of Borno, commended the gesture, saying it would go along way in enhancing the capacity of inmates to enable them to become productive members of the society.
In his remarks, Gov. Babagana Zulum lauded the UNODC for according priority to the well being of the less privileged in the society.
Represented by Kaka Shehu-Lawan, the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Zulum said the intervention was improving the welfare of people incercerated in the custodial facilities.
While calling on development organisations to emulate the gesture, Zulum urged the management of the NCoS to ensure effective utilisation of the programme to enhance rehabilitation of the inmates.
He ssid the state government had initiated viable programmes towards promoting vocational training to empower the inmates to enable them to become self-reliant.
For his part, the Controller General of Corrections, Alhaji Haliru Nababa, represented by Deputy Controller General, Health and Welfare, Mrs Marylaurine Melchizedek, commended the UNODC for keying into the federal government’s reintegration and rehabilitation programme for inmates and repentant terrorists in the North East.