The Controller-General of the Nigeria Prisons Service, Mr Zakari Ibrahim, on Thursday said the Service had transferred 400 Nigerians serving prison terms in Thailand, for various offences to the country.
Ibrahim who made this known in an interview with newsmen in Abuja said the prisoners were transferred through a working treaty between Nigeria and Thailand.
He said that the prisoners were transferred between 2004 and 2013, adding that 20 Nigerian prisoners were moved from prisons in Thailand to Kirikiri Maximum prison in 2013.
The controller-general said that the service also lost 45 prison guards to insurgency in the country.
He decried the inadequate security gadgets required for operations by prison officials in view of the prevailing security challenges in the country.
“There are inadequate security weapons and gadgets required for operational use in view of the prevailing security situation across the country.
“Our facilities have been attacked and burnt down, while some of our officers have been killed by terrorist groups,’’ he said.
He, however, said that security of the prison formations had been improved through collaboration with other security agencies.
Ibrahim said the service had also fortified its perimeter wall in some of its formations including Otukpo and Okene prisons and reactivated solar systems and Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) in some of its formations.
He said it purchased additional “mechanical restraints, arms and ammunition, bullet-proof jackets and other gadgets for use in the prisons”.
Ibrahim said that the service had installed solar power to complement the national grid in powering some of its equipment in Ekiti, Anambra, Ebonyi and Edo to light up the prisons.
He also identified inadequate budgetary allocations for the reconstruction of dilapidated prisons structures, adding that the prisons were congested by large numbers of Awaiting Trial Persons.
According to the controller-general, Awaiting Trial Persons accounts for 70 per cent of prison inmates.
Ibrahim urged a speedy passage of the bill, before the National Assembly, to de-congest prisons and improve other operations of the prisons service.
He, however, said that efforts to de-congest the prisons were yielding positive results with the payment of inmates’ fines by some non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Ibrahim urged faith-based organisations and individuals to emulate NGOs by paying the fines of such inmates.