Nigerian Prisons Service and Internal Security Management in Nigeria
Globally, the principle behind the operation of prisons by a modern state is not only custody for criminals who constitute a security threat to the state but also reformatory for them. Thus, prison service ought to contribute to national security of a state significantly by ensuring that persons sent to prisons come back into the society as rehabilitated citizens. To ensure the attainment of this was the reason behind the establishment of Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) to manage Nigerian prisons. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, persons sent to prisons come back becoming hardened criminals. This challenge is the fulcrum of attention of this research. Research questions that guided the study were the following: How did NPS evolve? To what extent has NPS contributed to the national security of Nigeria in its management of prisons in Nigeria? What are the challenges faced by NPS in the management of prisons for internal security of Nigeria? Data and information for this study were gathered from primary and secondary sources. Primary information was sourced from a senior prison official in Yola, Adamawa State and an ex-inmate in one of the prisons in the state. Furthermore, secondary data were collected from Federal Office of Statistics (FOS), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and other relevant textual materials like books, journal articles, online reports, especially those of the NPS, and newspapers. The thesis of the chapter is that NPS has a significant role to play in the management of the internal security of the Nigerian state. However, the institution is yet to perform this role effectively due to challenges such as inadequate funds, poor rehabilitation programmes, the mixture of minor offenders with hardened criminals, the problem of awaiting trial persons (ATPs) and the philosophy of operating Nigerian prisons as punitive rather than reformative systems. As a result, Nigerian prisons have become avenues for criminalisation of inmates rather than reformation centres, thus complicating Nigeria’s national security. The chapter recommends addressing the deteriorating conditions of Nigerian prisons through adequate funding, de-emphasizing imprisonment as a form of punishment except where it is absolutely necessary, addressing the problem of ATPs through judicial reform and separation of minor and major offenders during imprisonment.
KeywordsOffenders National security Internal security management and Nigerian Prisons Service
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