The Conference was organized by the Carmelite Prisoners’ Interest Organization (CAPIO), in partnership with the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Prison Inmates Development Initiative (PIDI) with funding support from Voice. Participants were drawn from stakeholder of the Criminal Justice System amongst whom were, Officers from the Nigeria Correctional Service, Federal Ministry of Justice, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), the Nigeria Police Force, the Media, and other Human Rights Organizations. The conference which is one of the key activities of the project “Advancing Human Right of Women Prisoners in Nigeria” was declared open by the Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Mr. Peter Egbodo (Director, Joint Service, Ministry of Interior).
The minister, while speaking, commended CAPIO for all her efforts in promoting the rights and welfare of inmates in Correctional facilities. He further said, “… there is no doubt that the continued collaboration of the Nigerian Correctional Service with CAPIO and other related organizations and stakeholders which have been clamoring for the recognition and better treatment for inmates especially the women in custody might have probably contributed significantly to the inclusion of the provisions for the establishment of separate Correctional facilities for adult females and separate borstal institutions for young female offenders in addition to other lofty provisions including non-custodial measures in the recently enacted Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019.” He assured CAPIO and the general public that the Federal Government of Nigeria will continue to provide the needed support for the Nigeria Correctional Service to discharge its statutory responsibilities with a view of improving the conditions of the Institution.
The two-day program themed “Building Bridges to the Ideal Women Correctional Institutions in Nigeria” was characterized by two major events. The first event was a conference where reform issues with reference to gender was discussed, while looking at the Correctional Service Act, 2019. The Lead paper presentation titled “Can Nigeria Achieve a Truly Gender Sensitive Correctional System? Starting from where we are.” was done by Dr. Chichi Aniagolu-Okoye, Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria. Panel discussions on experiences from Custodial Centres and recent trends in Correctional Management in Nigeria took place. The main highlight of the conference was a presentation by a returned citizen (ex-inmate), who gave a first-hand situational report on the life and experience in Enugu State Maximum Custodial Centre.
The Second event was the project closing ceremony which had presentation of project objectives and reports, showing results and impact of the project “Advancing Human Rights of Women Prisoners in Nigeria.”
Link for Project Report: Project Report on Advancing Human Rights for Women
To mark the end of the conference, the Controller General of Corrections, Mr. Ja’afaru Ahmed, represented by Assitant Controller General of Correctional, Mr. Peter Pevigo unveiled banners and 5000 copies of the simplified version of the manual titled “Gender Sensitive Approach to the treatment of Women Inmates in Nigeria” developed by CAPIO and donated to the Nigeria Correction Service. He said, “Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) have come far because we worked with CAPIO and other organizations which are desirous of making life better for those who have ran afoul of our laws and are behind bars”. He mentioned a notable feat of the NCS amongst others which is the construction of a 3000-capacity custodial facility in Janguza, Kano, saying that the project will be replicated in the six geo-political zones in Nigeria.
Link for Presentation: CVPs CAPIO Presentation(1)
At the end of the conference, participants signed a communique based on reports and recommendations that came up during the conference. The Communique will be forwarded to relevant policy makers appropriate actions. Link for Communique: Communique PDF