The Controller General of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) Ja’afaru Ahmed, has declared the readiness of the institution to work on the implementation of the Non-custodial measures and prepared to duplicate it in other states of the federation and not only the FCT command.
Ahmed hinted at the closing ceremony of the ‘training of cohort of Non-custodial service correctional officers’ Friday,at the NSCos Beadquarters, Abuja.
He stated that since the signing of the Act on 31st July 2019 the service has engaged in numerous trainings to enhance the ability of his staff.
According to him “we have run a series of training which this is one of,in order to build capacity in the area of Non-Custodial service. So far with our development partners like ROLAC, PRAWA, EU and British Council we have been assisting in the building of capacity in various commands.
“We believe that we are ready for the implementation of the Non-custodial measures in different states. In some areas we are yet to have the necessary equipment to implement.”
The Controller General disclosed that “no matter how we want to do parole it is not possible because we need to monitor and this can not be done under certain conditions. For example for probation there might be certain conditions that have been placed by the court and we might need to monitor these activities and we do not have the equipment to enable us do this,we are not talking in terms of training but in equipment We believe that government is ready to fund the Nigerian Correctional Service and development partners are also interested in seeing to the success of the NCoS because it have gone far and has put the country in the map of best global practices in terms of correctional Management.
He further disclosed the challenge of personnel adding, this is a service that has been expanded and requires personnel and other facilities to enable effective service.
“We have made request to government, we are not unaware of the economic situation in this country. We know that the president is ready to assist and see to the full implementation. Success story will be recorded and we will be the best in Africa and others will come to learn from us.
The CG presented each participants with the certificate of training, and also handed over the HP laptop gifted to the command by PRAWA to Deputy Controller of Corrections Ezenwanne Elizabeth officer Incharge Non-custodial service FCT command while admonishing that it should be used in the capturing of data and activities of the service and not for personal business as the item will be among the things she will be handing over when leaving the office.
The Chief Magistrate Abuja division, Mabel Segun Bello during the training session on ‘legal framework for Non-custodial measures, ACJA and NCSA perspective from the judiciary stated that the NCoS occupy a salient position as they have the key role of practicing the Non-custodial measures. Stating the court will seek the advice of the NCoS before imposing a non Custodial measures and as such day to day briefing is expected to be made available on ground before a sentence is passed in respect to the non custodial service.
Mabel further Stated that, when imposing a Non-custodial sentence the court shall be guided by the provision of the ACJA and other relevant laws and also the availability of facilities for implementation.The court may in all cases sentence a convict to a Non-custodial option including fine but it must be in accordance with the practice direction.
She disclosed that “there are avenue where the court may not impose the Non-custodial measures and this includes a situation where the statute that creates the offence provided for a mandatory sentence, example section 322 penal code.
“Also in cases where the statute that creates the offence expressly disallow non custodial sentence, for example in section 315 penal code criminal breach of trust by public servant shall be punished by imprisonment which may extend to 14 years and shall not be liable to fine.
“The court shall only impose Non-custodial sentence on a convict where there is ‘low culpability offence,” ‘limited harm offence’, and where there are mitigating factors,” she said.
The chief Magistrate in the course of the event presented the new signed into law practice direction of the Non-custodial measures.
Ogbonna Ndidi,desk officer NCoS FCT command, one of the training participant expressed delight over the opportunity of being among the trainee as she has benefitted a great deal.
“The training has made us to know the differences in custodial and Non-custodial measures and has made us realise that Non-custodial is also an alternative to imprisonment.
“It has taught me how to carryout my duties on Non-custodial measures and an explicit understanding of reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration,”she explained.