Akwa Ibom State has keyed into the Federal Government drive for Prison reformation and rehabilitation with the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the construction of a new structure on the fifteen hectares of land donated to the Nigerian Prisons Service.
The MOU was signed during a courtesy visit by the Minister of Interior Mr Abdulraman Dambazau on Governor Udom Emmanuel at Government House, Uyo.
During the visit, Governor Emmanuel expressed appreciation to the Minister for personally coming to endorsed the partnership document on the Prisons relocation, rehabilitation and reformation describing it as” a bold step towards actualising prison decongestion and rehabilitation of inmates “.
Governor Emmanuel particularly commended the Interior Minister for strengthening the existing bond of brotherhood and collaboration between the state and Federal Government in it development agenda.
He observed that the present location of Uyo prison was not in the best interest of inmates as the facility is seriously threatened by erosion which may lead to it collapse as the rainy season set in and passionately request the Federal Government to intervene on the ecological problems in the state to safe lives and property.
Governor Emmanuel explained that the low crime profile associated with the state is a pointer to the fact Akwa Ibom people are peaceful and law abiding with only a small fraction taking to crime and used the occasion to make a case for the refund of 140 Billion naira owed the state by the Federal Government on rehabilitation of Federal Assets in the state.
He assured the Minister of continued cordial relationship with other agencies in his portfolio and expressed the hope that as he tours the facilities in the state his findings would convince him to lend a voice in support for the reimbursement of funds expended on Federal Assets.
Earlier, the Minister of Interior, Rt. Lt.Gen. Abdulraman Dambazau commended the state administration for it supportive role in ensuring prison decongestion pointing out that the prison has the responsibility of warehousing and reforming convicts and inmates awaiting trial.
He regreted the deplorable state of the facility across the country saying that the prevailing situation inhibits smooth functioning of the prison as corrective centers.
The Minister said that Uyo Prison which was built to accommodate six hundred inmates has been stretched to nine hundred capacity and that the situation calls for expansion of the facility to enable it perform rehabilitation programmes for the convicts.
Highpoint of the visit was the signing of Memorandum of Understanding with Governor Udom Emmanuel indorsing for the state government while the Interior Minister Rt. Gen. Abdulraman Dambazau signed for the Federal Government