Some residents of Kwara State have decried what they described as “continued exploitation of visitors by officials of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS)”.
A popular public commentator and human rights activist in Ilorin, Comrade Abdullateef Ishowo, said he paid N1000 before he was allowed to see an inmate in one of the custodial facilities in the state.
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Speaking during the 2nd Roundtable Discussion to mark the birthday anniversary of Ishola Olateju Olohungbebe in Ilorin, Ishowo explained that he was made to part with the amount by some officials of the centre at five different points during the visit.
Olohunbgbebe is the initiator of the Ishola Olateju Foundation and the Personal Assistant to the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
He has offered various scholarships to indigent citizens and empowered the less privileged with employment for youths within and outside the state.
Olohungbebe said, “Right from the people I met at the gate, I have to part with N200 each and do so in five other places before I was finally allowed to see the inmate I wanted to see.
“The most annoying thing is that there is no record for such expenses and when questioned, the officials offer no explanation but just that that is the norm.”
Another participant at the programme, Olaoye Olakunle, said he paid “N150 at more than five different places during his visit to see an inmate at the Okekura correctional centre”.
Others who also spoke at the programme condemned the act, saying that things should not be allowed to go the way they are.
Responding, the Controller of the Nigeria Correctional Centre (NCS), Kwara State, Aliyu Baba Uthman, advised visitors to the two correctional centres in the state not to indulge in sharp practices while visiting inmates.
Uthman said, “Some of us love sharp practices. What is required of you when you are going to see an inmate is to write an official letter as you are leaving your home and envelope it.
“Then you submit it to whoever you meet at the counter or the official that attend to you.
“That is the rule. Now if you have done that and anybody still raises an eyebrow or refused you to see the inmate, please contact me through my personal number that I will make available at the end of this programme.
“That is the ideal thing to do but some of us don’t just want to follow the rules and be blaming the government. In trying to cut corners, you create more problems than solutions (for the service).”