Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to construct COVID-19 isolation centres at the various reformatory institutions across the country.
Umahi made the call in Abakaliki when the House of Representatives Committee on reformatory institutions paid him a courtesy visit as part of its oversight functions on such institutions in the state.
The governor represented by the Deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe, said that the construction of the isolation centres at institutions such as the police and correctional service would help in checking the infection rate of COVID-19 among inmates.
“We were confronted with this problem in the course of the pandemic in the state and while we were trying to isolate COVID– 19 patients from the society it was a different story with the correction service.
“The then controller of correctional service was afraid of admitting inmates for fear that COVID-19 patients might infect inmates who were negative and that such situation could result to a spike.
“We deliberated on the issue and resolved that there was need for the construction of isolation centres in the reformatory institutions,” he said.
“The presidential taskforce should do this if they are spending money on advertisement, media and publicity.
“The federal government should also review its justice system to determine whether the correctional centres are truly reformatory or centres of punishment.
“The inmates are supposed to be trained and equipped on various vocations to be useful to themselves and their families,” he said.
He listed the state government’s various interventions to the correctional service in the state in terms of infrastructure among others and pledged the continued assistance to the service.
Chief Anayo Nwonu, Chairman of the committee, thanked the state government for the reception, declaring that as a ‘son of the state’ the committee was awed by the governor’s infrastructural strides.
Nwonu said that the committee had carried such oversight functions in other states and intended to do so in all the six geo-political zones of the country.
“This is to assess the condition of facilities at the custodial centres to make informed recommendations that will make them operate with international best practices.
“We urge the governor to look into the state criminal justice system with regard to inmates on awaiting trial as the issue is the same at all the custodial centres visited,” he said.
He commended the governor for his assistance to the correctional service in the state and his infrastructural strides which had brought accolades to the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the committee members inspected facilities at the custodial centre in Abakaliki and were led round by the new Controller of Correctional Service, in the state, Mr Ndubisi Ogbodo.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu