By Ado Hassan, Sokoto
The Controller General of Prisons , Mr Ja’afaru Ahmed has said that the service will not rest on it oars in its drive to ensure and achieve the ultimate goal of repositioning the service to meet global standards.
Similarly, the Prisons Boss said a drive towards building and renovation of its barracks and offices, robust healthcare, distribution of uniforms and accoutrements, promotion and upgrading among others were being synchronised to meeting the staff welfare obligation on the service, pointing out that, welfare remained top priority to the NPS and would continue to be pursued with passion and honesty for results.
“We are working rigorously with the support of the federal government to reverse the general operational trends for the better through the various motivational and relations strategies to further exhume the best out of our personnel and make prisons facilities and condition stand global requirements”
Besides, not less than 15, 000 officers and men had been promoted to the next appropriate level respectively in less than 2 years.
To this end, Ahmed disclosed that in the last 12 months, the Nigerian Prisons Service had promptly paid over N315 million to a total of 895 personnel and next of kins as retirement and death benefits as well medical claims.
” We have migrated to electronic payment (e-payment) system to take away the burden of having officers travel long distances to access their claims”, he disclosed.
Ahmed spoke on Monday in Sokoto at the service 2018 2-day workshop on the12th Anniversary of its Welfare Insurance Scheme(PWIS).
He said due to the services they rendered, it became imperative that prisons personnel enjoy both contingent and terminal benefits to cushion the heavy demands of keeping offenders in safe and humane custody across the country.
The workshop has as its theme” Welfare Insurance in Contemporary Nigeria, PWIS Challenges and Strategies for Improvement”
Accordingly, the prisons Boss who declared the workshop opened at the Sokoto Guest Inn, explained that high level confidence had been built in the management of the scheme over the years, adding” I share in the desire to see it grow to a formidable pillar of care and support beyond the present level.”
Ahmed said while the the service had released its latest batch of claims to the tune of over N100 million for payments, it had also recovered over N5 million debts under its cooperative scheme(PRISCO).
” We will not rest on our oars to ensure that PWIS and every other welfare package is given maximum attention to provide the needed motivation for personnel”, he stressed.
Earlier in his welcome address, Assistant Controller General and Secretary PWIS BoT, Mr Muhammad Salisu noted that there had been drastic improvement in the operations of the service since the current administration of CGP, Ahmed came to office.
” We are witnessing high level transparency, accountability and prompt payment of premium, claims and other welfare packages. No money or dime is spent without following due process for accountability”, he mentioned.
In her goodwill message, the National President, Prisons Officers Wives Association(PROWA), Hajiya Gwamma Ahmed described welfare as a natural concern for women hence, their need to identify with the noble achievements recorded by PWIS through the association’s welfare objectives and mandate of promoting socio-economic, cultural, educational and welfare related programmes for wives and families of personnel as well the public.
According to Gwamma” every mother has to be dogged and courageous in consolidating the well being of the family.”
In the same vein, the PROWA president enumerated some of the landslide successes by the association to include: payment of fines for over 50 inmates across prisons in the country, health awareness campaigns on hygiene, de-worming and cervical cancer, commissing of the third phase of prisons staff school, Abuja with all adjourning facilities and the empowerment of 41 widows of gallant officers who lost their lives to insurgents attacks in the North East among others.
However, high lights of the opening ceremony were the presentation of excellence awards to CGP, Ahmed as the most compassionate officer and his wife, Hajiya Gwamma receiving the silent achiever’s award.
Others were Ismaila Sa’idu of Kaduna prisons for Best Desk officer; and Kele Sunday of Rivers state command for Best Human Relations while two cheques were also presented to families and next of kins of late Chief Warden, Kabiru Mohammed of Sokoto prisons late Hassan Manga respectively