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We have taken measures against Coronavirus -Nigerian Correctional Service

The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) has said it took proactive measures to tackle the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) ravaging the world even before the index case was reported in Nigeria as confirmed cases in the country hit 111 as of Sunday night.

The Public Relations Officer of the Service and a Deputy Controller of the Service, Austin Chuks Njoku, who made this known to BusinessDay in a telephone chat, said the service has built a reputation for addressing such emergency outbreaks.

 “We have taken steps; give it to us that in the other issues of Lassa fever, the Ebola and the outbreak of different kinds of diseases and infections, we never had such infections in the correctional centre in Nigeria,” he said.

 He noted that before the Index case was reported in Nigeria, the Controller General of Correctional Service Ja’afar Ahmed had taken steps already to put his men at a red alert concerning this COVID 19.

“There was a committee set up in all the states, including rapid response and monitoring team. Visits to inmates have also been suspended.  There is only way this people (inmates) can be infected that is if people are coming to visit them. So we have curtailed visits and told the inmates that everybody is sacrificing one thing or the other and they also have to sacrifice,” he said.

He added that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, has directed that there will be no court sittings, therefore the Service is not receiving any new inmates for now apart from some serious issues and they have to past through some serious screening through infrared, hand washing and all other aspects. He said the new inmates will be separated from other inmates for 14 days and if within these days any inmate shows any sign of malaria, coughing, sneezing and others they will be separated from others.

“We have isolation centers in all the correctional centers. So, these are the steps we have taken and by the grace of God we will not record any incident in the correctional centers,” he added.

On whether the correctional centers will consider decongesting the centers by releasing some of the inmates; he said, “we cannot do that now because of the situation. Some of them don’t even know where they come from. Even if they are released some people would not want to welcome them back to the society immediately because of the stereotype and bias that is involved in anything that has to do with imprisonment.”

 

By Innocent Odoh, Abuja

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