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- Name: THE MANAGEMENT OF THE NIGERIAN PRISON SERVICES IN ANAMBRA STATE: ISSUES AND PROSPECTS.
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The Anambra Prison Services is like other Nigerian Prison Services. It is a complex organization faced with many managerial and structural problems, which hampers effective management of the services, thereby impacting it from achieving its set objectives as it is written in the Prisons Decree of 1972. This paper examined the likely problems that militate against the effective management of the services, ascertain whether the services has the right calibrate of staff and also investigate the authenticity of the claims of the prison services which its policies, programmes, aims and set objectives are reformative and rehabilitative. The research instrument consists of the following. 1. Oral interview 2. Documentary records The findings in the present study suggest that there is need to re-examine our prison system with a view to having them re-moulded to become more rehabilitative, less congested and thereby more humane. Finally, there should be need for more adequate funding and implementation of government policies n Nigeria Prison Services
The definition of management cannot easily be stated in one line of thought.
Individuals differ in their understanding and definitions of the term.
Advanced Dictionary of current English defined management as skilful
treatment and delicate contrivance.
Obikeze and Obi (2004) defined management as the process of combining
and utilizing or allocating organization inputs (me, material and money) by
planning, organizing, directing and controlling for the purpose of producing
outputs (goods and services or whatever the object are) desired by customers
so that the organizational objectives are accomplished.
Drucker (1989) sees management as denoting a function as well as the
people who discharge it, a social position and authority, and also a
Some scholars see management as a collective noun referring to a certain
group of people occupying the top echelon of organization.
Management can be seen as the process of utilizing the available human and
material resources in order to achieve the goals and objective of an
organization. In essence, management involves combing and utilizing men,
material and money to achieve desired results in an organization.
Prison, is an institution designed to securely house people who have been
convicted of crimes. These individuals known as prisoners or inmates are
kept in continuous custody on a long term basis. The Encyclopedia of social
sciences defines prison as a place where persons whose liberty has been
curtailed by law are confined to assume the successful administration of
justice or application of panel treatment. Individuals who commit the most
serious crimes are sent to prison for one more years, the more serious the
offense, the longer the prison term imposed.
Before the advent of British rule in Nigeria, there were, in the various towns
and villages diverse ways of punishing miscreants. These varied from one
community to the other and were dictated largely by the tradition, customs
and belief of a people. One thing seems clear however, that is natural that a
wrong doer whose continued freedom and liberty pose a threat to the general
community should be restrained. It was therefore common to lock up a
suspected wrong doer till a competent body or authority “tried” him/her or
as a means of punishment (mostly prescribed by the adjudicating body or
authority) bind him with shackles etc, there by confining and restraining
him. Ikeazor (1986)
In our traditional societies, the Ogboni house serve as a sort of prison in
Yoruba land. The Edo’s, the Ewedo building served only for keeping those
to be sold but also those offenders who had to be put away for sometimes. It
is also on record that in 1908 Sir Frederick Lugard recorded the existence of
prisons among the Fulani ethnics who used them both for incarcerating
offenders and for locking away condemned prisons. The Ibo’s built
darkroom or houses were constructed by communities, villages and powerful
individuals in the society for the purpose of confirming offenders and
Nnonyelu and Obiajulu (1997). Thus the concept and reality of
imprisonment in Nigeria the arrival of British Colonialists Nigeria. The
British people were for administrative conveniences and imperialist motives
that any other reason else. The penal system was introduced into Nigeria as
an ancillary measure led to the promulgation of staggering member of
regulations. The Nigerian penal system as it stands today has its roots in
country’s colonial past.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY:
The Nigeria prisons service is an organization employing thirty nine
thousand three hundred and ninety workers (figure from 2003 Nigerian
Prison Annual Report) working in its 123 (One Hundred and Twenty Three)
prison and lock-ups scattered all over the federation. Like many complex
organizations, the service is likely to be faced with many managerial and
structural problems which obviously hamper the good and effective
management of the service, thereby affecting it from achieving the
objectives it set for itself.
The objectives of this study therefore include the following:
a. The examine the effective management of the Nigerian Prisons
b. To ascertain whether the service has the right caliber of staff.
c. To investigate the authenticity of the claims of the prisons service that
tits policies, programmers, aims and objectives are reformative and
d. This study also aimed enquiring into the problems in the
implementation of these goals.
e. It will also spotlight the deficiencies in the institutional treatment,
suggestion alternative methods of approaching the solutions to the
f. To know if enough fund is usually allocated to the service to pursue
Issues in Prison Management:
Modern organization and its management requires the co-ordination of men,
materials, equipment, money and time, while the other, inanimate objects are
relatively easier to understand and handle, the human factor poses the
greatest problem of management today.
Organizations are structured into departments and sections, which are made
up of groups of individuals. Each group in the Organization has its own
objective which is components of the Organizational objectives.
To achieve its objectives each group requires among others:
1. The spirit of team work
2. Effective communication
3. Skills of members to perform their jobs in the group.
4. Utilization of the abilities and skills of every one in the group to
the fullest extent possible.
5. Willingness of each member to share responsibilities for the
success of the group
6. An atmosphere of trust.
The Nigerian prison service being a social security organization is as old as
country and has been under great pressure to modernize.
This has become necessary because of the changing role it has often been
called upon to play in the social security organization of Nigeria. In response
to the demand for modernization, the prison system in Nigeria has
undergone many changes over the years. The system has moved from Local
government and state Government controls to join other Federal controlled
prisons service under the control of the federal government.
The Nigerian prisons service which operates under Decree No 9 1972 and
other ordinances before it is charged with the following responsibilities:
1. Identifying the reason for anti social behavior of offenders, teaching and
training them to be useful citizens of a free society.
2. Treating, training and rehabilitating them to become useful citizens of
Regrettably Nigerians Prisons Service is finding it increasingly difficult
to meet its goals. A visit to any of Nigeria Prison (Awka and Onitsha
prisons) in Anambra State reveals that none of the prisons is meting the
United Nations organizations minimum regulation on treatment of
prisoners. The civil liberties organization (CLO) and Human Rights
organizations say presently that life in Nigeria is rough and terrible. The
physical appearance of many of the awaiting trial prisoners who go to
court for hearing of their cases or to the hospital for medical treatment
lead credence to what has been written and said by these organization.
They look pale and haggard. Besides, the infrastructure looks obsolete
and is poorly maintained. Inmates especially awaiting trial inmates sleep
on bare without blankets, there is constant stench and around the cells
because the awaiting trial inmates seldom take their bath. Common
medicines a local peasant can buy are not available in the prisons. Worse
‘chaff’ is supplied in the name of food.
Managing the Nigeria Prison Service raised the following questions:
1. Are funds made available by the federal government for the efficient
running of the service or are its starved funds simply because it does
not record income like customs and immigration services?
2. Are the past and present prison administrator’s naïve or bereft of
3. Is its lack of autonomy contributing to its ineffective management?
4. Are the staff enjoying job satisfaction, in order words are they
property motivated in terms of advancement, promotion, fringe
benefits and fat salary.
5. Has the prisons services in its employment the right caliber of staff for
the achievement of the objective of the service.
The Management of Anambra Prison Service:
The Nigeria Prison system report on Africa Focus Bulletin of Feb. 26, 2008
cited Nigerian’s Prison are filled with people whose human rights are
systematically violated. Approximately 65 percent of the inmates are
awaiting trial most of whom in Nigerian prisons are too to be able to pay
lawyers, and only few of those awaiting trial have private legal
representation. Amnesty international press release (Feb. 26 2008) reports
that “the problems in Nigeria Criminal Justice system-especially its prison
are so blatant and egregious that the Nigeria government has had no choice
but to recognized that and has pledged many times that it will reform the
The Nigerian Prisons Services is facing the same management system
throughout all the prisons in the federation. The greatest problem facing
management of prisons today is population explosion. According to Nigeria
Prisons Services, the prison population has shown that congestion is mainly
evident identified in all prisons.
Research shows hat the awaiting trial population is the major problem of
Nigeria Prisons, the group out number the convicted prisoners and swells the
prison population out of proportion.
The most crowded prison in Nigeria is Awka Prison Anambra sate. 452
prisoners occupy the prison which has capacity of 98 mats, but as at 2005
these represent 361 percentage more that its capacity.
These are two prisons in Anambra State, one in Awka and the other in
Onitsha. A medium, security prison has been under construction in each of
Nnewi and Ekwulobia towns but after seven years these structures are about
80 percent completed. Awka Prisons was built to hold 233 inmates and that
of Onitsha at Akpaka Fores, designed to accommodate 326, but the later
currently host over 700 detainees. The Anambra State controller of Nigerian
Prisons Service, Sir Michael Nweze revealed in the Daily Sun Newspaper of
(April 27, 2004) that the number of prisoners in Onitsha, which used to be a
slave camp, has actually dropped. According to him, he said “It used to be
more than 1,000 inmates, in there; Awka prison, built for 238 detainees, now
holds more than 300 prisoners.
On the Anambra State liberation day, former governor of Anambra State
fred 19 prisoners in Awka and Onitsha prisons (Governor Chris Ngige). The
controller also thanks the ex-president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo for
taking the problems of Nigeria prisons to heart.
Anambra prisons now have two Black Maria one for Awka and one for
Onitsha prison. The controller said that for long Anambra State prisons
services had no functional Black Maria. The Anambra Sate controller of
prisons in his interview with the Daily Sun, He expatiated his view on the
problems facing Nigeria Prisons. The impression is widespread the Nigeria
jail houses are purely for punishment and not for correction purpose. He
stated that the problem is that most of the inmates are awaiting trial and not
yet convicted, which is why “we cannot incorporate them into our
reformation programmes, unfortunately, until the inmate is a convict, he is
not entitled to undergo any reform exercise.
(Daily sun newspaper April 29, 2004: 1)
The structure of Anambra Prisons Service, Awka Prisons and Onitsha
Prisons fall into of the two type of organizational structure
For the purpose of this paper, I am limiting myself to function structure
which is the oldest and commonly used type. In practice the organization is
departmentalized or divided into several inter-department units.
The key function areas in Awka and Onitsha prisons:
c. Medical and Health Services
f. General duties.
The person in change of prison is called the superintendent. The
superintendent is the head of Administration. But the over all in charge is the
The Organizational Structure of Anambra State Prisons.
Personnel Welfare Medical and Industry Agriculture General Duties Health Service
(www.independent ng.com/Sunday (3/18/06)
1. The work of function of personnel section in the prison is different
from the functions of personnel offices in complex organization. The
prison personnel section is in charge of handling correspondences
between the prison and its head quarters; it processes correspondence
for staff and inmates.
2. Welfare: the welfare units sees to the social and economics conditions
of the inmates and staff. It seeks to provide recreational activities to
the inmates and staff, example lido, draft, table tennis, foo5t ball etc.
It also tries to reconcile some inmates with their parents/relation
where relationship is strained.
3. Medical and Health Service: this section takes care of the health of the
prisoners, and also in charge of the general cleanliness of the
compound, sell and ensure high standard of neatness in the prison
Anambra State Comptroller Nigeria Prison Service
kitchen and certifies that meals served to the inmates is of good
4. Industry: In the section, convicted inmates are apprenticed to
carpentry, tailoring, cane making, basket making, shoes making etc.
this is a training ground for in-mates.
5. Agriculture: This section is headed by Assistant superintendent. This
section is in-charge of prison farm.
6. General duties: This section does the main job for which the prison
service is created. Members of this section do the surveillance job of
the service, they run three shifts, morning, afternoon and night.
While those in general duties are seen as line officers, those in the
other five divisions are staff officers.
The Awka prison is the main prison while Onitsha Prison is the
branch of the main prison in Anambra Sate. The overall manager of
the prison is called the comptroller. His office is situated at Anambra
prison secretariat headquarters at Awka. He gets directives from the
comptroller general of Nigeria prison service at Abuja.
PROBLEM OF MANAGING NIGERIA PRIOSONS SERVICES
A. Inadequate lack of information and rehabilitation of the inmates
Kayode (1987) says that the penal policy of the reformation,
rehabilitation in Nigeria is no more that a public disguise for
modernizing, while in practice nothing have changed from the
inherited penal system that was geared towards the punishment,
incapacitation and deprivation of incarcerated offenders in spite of
official declaration that the Nigerian Prison Service goals have done
in any meaningful way to change the operations and organization of
this service to fulfill such goals.
Orah, said in one of the Nigerian newspaper that though president
Obasanjo has introduced majors to recognize the prison, it has not
gone far enough as the system is incapable of reforming any prisoner.
According to him the system is not capable of reforming prisoners
because of congestion and inadequate recreational facilities coupled
with the presence of many disease in the prison which include
HIV/AIDS, with the death toll conservatively put at 25 inmates
prisons weekly “for you to know damage the Nigerian prisons can do
to human being, look at Obasangos picture before he went to the
prison, when he came out and “he said”, He was like a working
Abdul Orah said further that president Obasanjo, was just fortunate
that God preserved his life, “Others like him did not make it. He citied
Bisi Onabanjo, former governor of Ogun State, Busan Adelakun,
former commissioner in Oyo State, Barkin Zuwo, former governor of
Kano State, and Ambrose Ali former governor of Bendel State as
example of thos4e who do not survive prisons horror. They died
shortly after their release from prisons.
While former commissioner of police in Oyo State during the second
republic Olu Akeyode, Musa Yaradua all these men did not walk out
of prisons alive.
(www.Nigeriaworld. Comfeature/publication Oduyela 3/18/2006)
B. Lack of vocational training equipment
There is inadequate training facilities for reforming and rehabilitating
C. Lack of comprehensive policy on medical care.
The poor condition of the prison increase health risk. Most inmate
take in easily and those who take ill always never receive treatment.
Medical care in our prisons is appealing, the clinics are in shambles.
Diseases spread fast: prisoners are prone to such contagious diseases
as cholera, scabies, tuberculosis, dysentery, HIV.AIDS etc. The lack
of comprehensive policy on HIV, AIDS in prisons portends great
danger to the health and human right of the prisoners.
The prison environment has presently constituted is a veritably avenue
for the spread of HIV/AIDS virus among prisoners. Report show that
the dreaded is more prevalent at the medium prison, Kirikiri Lagos.
There, it is gathered that out of the 2,376 prisoners, 13 have tested
positive to the killer disease, like tuberculosis. Recorded gathering
statistics reveals that due to the inadequate medical attention and
facilities hardly does a week pass without one causality or another in
most of the large prisons, Kirikiri and Enugu prisons.
(Nigeriaworld.com/prison of horrour.3.29.2006).
D. Prisons Congestion: Is partly responsible for the seemingly
insufficient infrastructural amenities in Nigeria prisons. Prisons
facilitates are stretched to the limits by the unchecked population
According to Ujah (2004), the majority of inmates are living under
the most horrendous conditions with appealing food, poor to non
existent medical facilities, no showers and no beds, because of silly
policy, they do not perform work or attend any programmers, they do
they receive any social or physiological care, instead they sit ideally
for months and years wasting their lives, losing their self esteem and
with no knowledge of when their case will be hard, unable to aim a
living or make a contact with their families. The case of the awaiting
trial persons (ATP) brings out both the brutality and perversity of the
Nigerian prisons system. As a rule, (ATP) constitute a significant
percentage of the prison population.
B.B.C news article on the state of Nigerian prison and legal system
on Jan. 6, 2006 stated that Nigeria is to set free about half of all
prisoners to reduce overcrowding. Then ministers of justice (Bayo
Ojo) said that up to 25,000 people, including the sick, the elderly and
those with HIV will be freed, also those who have been awaiting trial
for longer that the sentences they face and those case file have been
lost by the authorities will also benefit. Nigeria has 148 prisons and
about 83 satellite prisons, 10 prisons farm and nine cottage industries
for the training of inmates. The actual capacity of the Nigerian
Prisons is about 33,348 but prison currently holds 47,000 inmates in
awaiting trials constituting 24,953 (59%) of this figure. In a more
recent statistic of the Nigerian Prisons Service (Nov. 2000) report
shows that Nigerian Prisons are over populated.
Obia (2001) contends that population explosion in Nigerian prisons
is one of the major problem militating against proper and effective
administration of the Nigerian Prisons.
E. The inadequacy of office accommodation, stationary, transport
and communication facilities further limits their efficiency.
Transfer of officers handling a case and lack of transportation
facilities to bring prisoners to court constitute additional constraints.
The ministries of justice are similarly faced with the problems of
actual shortage of dedicated, honest and well trained state counsel
thus necessitating calls for adjournment of cases
F. Class differentiation
Inmates who are materially buoyant are allowed a free hand to
indulge in unethical practices in return for gratification, Sunday independent newspaper 18th March 2006 stated that rich prisoners are
often allowed to bring in their own foods, and use gadgets like
television sets, radio and mobile phones. Some even brings in women.
According to the former internal affairs minister, Mohammed Mogeji
in an inspection of the confusion at Ikoyi Prisons “I saw what we
recovered from them. Some things like weapons and mobile phones,
we even saw television sets, knives, machetes, daggers and hammer.
“Rich inmates use their resources to maintain loyalties among fellow
prisoners and the prison officers. Recent riots in some Nigerian
Prisons have been attributed to attempts by prisoners to stop the
removal of some rich generous inmates on whom many of them
depend for food.
G. Lack of motivation
The prison staffs complain that their promotion comes sparingly to
both junior and senior staff, Hospital or medical expenses are hardly
Etanibi and Alamika (1987) said that poor wages, adverse working
condition and social stigma that go with prison services employment,
affect the moral of the staff. The right of prisons staff to dignity and
sense of justice is violated when they are forced to administer cruelty
to poor prisoners while simultaneously treating the few inmates that
are provided with better clothing and bedding materials.
H. Poor Sanitation
The prisoners in Nigeria today still make use of bucket system of
human waste disposal of faces in the environment is unhealthy for
staff and inmates.
I. Poor sleeping condition:
The convicted inmates sleep on bare spring iron bed covered only
with dirty and tattered mats, the awaiting trial inmates sleep on
unkempt cold concrete floor.
J. Public Attitude:
The staff claims that they have been subjected too much adverse
criticism by the general public in recent years and very few people
fully appreciate that treatment of offenders in modern society is a
complicated administrative task requiring the co-operation of the
society as a whole.
What is responsible for the low assessment of the prisons service is
because the services has no public relations unit that should educate
the public on the laudable objective of service.
K. Inadequate Training of Staff:
Prisoners and prison guards in Africa remain understudied and ill
understood and are most often represented in the literature as
objects/subjects of critique or targets of reform. There should be more
workshops/seminars for prison staff in order to update.
GOVERNMENT FAILURE TO IMPLEMENT RECOMMENDATION
Many national and international organization have warned the Nigeria
government of the human right violations occurring in the criminal justice
In recent years, the Nigerian government has frequently expressed
willingness to improve prison conditions and access to justice for those on
pre-trial definition (inmates awaiting trial). The establishment of a
presidential task force on prison reforms and decongestion led to the release
of around 8,000 prisoners in 1999.
However, no long-term police was adopted to address the problems in
prisons and within a few years they were as congested as they had been
before the release.
In June 2001, the then minister of interior, Sunday Afolabi, said that the
government would review prison law and prison reform, train personnel,
rehabilitate inmate and revitalize the prison system with the orison reformed
programme. It is reported to have spent N.G.N 24billon. In July 2002
President Olusegun Obasanjo himself a former inmate described the
situation of in mates awaiting trial as a human.
The national working group on prison reform and decongestion reviewed
144 prisons an revealed in its 2005 report that the population of Nigeria
prisons over the previous 10 years had totaled between 40,000 and 45,000
inmates, most of them awaiting trial.
The intent-ministerial summit on the state of remand inmates in Nigeria’s
prisons was established in 2005 to review the report of the previous working
group on prison reform it recommendation the federal government respond
to the problem of inmates awaiting trail pay more attention to rehabilitation,
and address he issue of the large number of inmates awaiting trial due to the
shortage of defense counsel.
In 2006, the presidential committee on prison reform and rehabilitation was
established. This committee recommended improving the conditions of
service of prison and police officials, and addressing the issues of prison
congestions and the large number of prisoners awaiting trial. When then
president Obasanjo received the committees report, he said “the federal
government would implement its recommendations.”
The Presidential Commission on the Reform of the Administration of Justice (PCRAJ) established on 16th March 2006 to Nigeria and propose sustainable
reforms, expressed concern that imprisonment was being over used,
including in case of the non-violent persons suspected of minor offences.
The committee on the harmonization of report of presidential committee
working on justice sector reform reiterated in April 2007 the
recommendation of the PCRAS.
The Impact of Government Reforms:
A draft prison bill was presented to the national assembly in 2004, However,
by the end of 2007 the bill has still not passed into law. Neither had the
police (Amendment) bill, nor any of the criminal justice system. The
government as, on several occasions in 2006 and 2007, announced that it
would release considerable numbers of inmates, including those awaiting
trial and those on death row. This raised the expectations of inmates but did
not lead to their release. In the prison amnesty international visited in July
2007, none of the inmates whose release has been announced in May 2007
has actually been released.
Amnesty international concludes that Nigeria does not take seriously its
responsibility toward its citizens in prison recommendation made by national
and international organizations have failed to lead to any action by the
government. The recommendation of all governmental committees and
commissions appear to be little more than words, which have left our real
situation in Nigeria’s prison unchanged. Inmates awaiting trial especially
those who cannot afford legal support, want for years for their trial to take
place, the prison remain over crowded.
Person automates do not appear to receive the funds, that have been
allocated to improving conditions.
Amnesty international is extremely concerned that few of the Nigeria
Government’s promise have been translated into action.
Prospect and Recommendation.
A human person system should aim at keeping only those individuals who
cannot be dealt with by other means, fretting inmates with respects, helping
inmates retain their dignity, establishing inmate’s right. Providing
opportunities for self employment and assisting with creating a report
between the Person and for the purposes of rehabilitating and re-integrating
inmates upon discharge.
To meet the aforementioned obligation the following points should be
considered by the appropriate authorities.
1. Alternatives to imprisonment such as community service, fines and
restitution should be encourage with a view to committing to the
prisons only person who cannot other wise be dealt with.
2. A legal framework to dearly define prisoner’s right and minimum
standard for all aspects of prison life is required. To this end existing
rules relating to prisons and prisoners should be reviewed and
international best practices incorporated specifically, the prisons
output to be amended.
3. Prison authorities should grant incased access to the prisons to non
Governmental Organization with penal reform Programmers.
Improved access will facilitate the process of holistic reforms, as it
would afford the NGOs the opportunity to access the system
4. Prison infrastructure should be improved. New prison need to be built
and the old ones rehabilitated. Re-distribution of prison population is
also necessary to make better use of limited accommodation and
emphasize the important distinction between convicted and
unconvinced, juvenile and adult, first offended and recidivist.
5. Improved working condition for prison staff should be evolved to
motivate personnel and inmates.
6. Progammes and institutions that are sustainable and have a bearing on
decongestion should be created, as the major problem appears to the
distribution of awaiting trial inmates.
7. A carefully articulated and functional system of monitoring inmates
should established to identity and release well-behaved inmates.
8. Training and re-training for prison staff is necessary to update them
with the most current trends in the world of management.
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