Prison Officers Allege Extortion At Kirikiri Training School
Officers of the Nigeria Prison Service undergoing a training programme at its institution in Kirikiri, Lagos, have accused officials of the school of extortion in the guise of providing them with uniforms.
About 408 personnel of the rank of Chief Superintendent of Prisons, drawn from commands across the country, are participating in a three-month course on development at the institution, Daily Trust on Sunday gathered.
The programme is due to be concluded on November 15, it was gathered.
Participants, however, alleged that the school had forced each of them to pay N37000 for ceremonial dress, belts and caps, items they claimed to posses.
They alleged that the expenses were not communicated to them when they were being assembled for the training, saying an earlier circular from the Comptroller-General of Prisons ordered them to pay only N1000.
“We were only asked to be ready to pay a nonrefundable fee of N1000 on arrival at the school. We complied and paid, but later on they ordered that we must pay N37000 each. They asked us to pay N33000 to CDO’s office and N4000 to Course Officer’s office, ”one of the participants said.
He said all the officers had brought with them all the items that the school was forcing them to buy.
“Is it right for us to be compelled to buy what we already have? ”he asked.
Another participant complained that the material for the ceremonial dress was of a very low quality that does not befit their status as senior officers.
“The ceremonial wears that we have are of better quality than what they want to force down our throats, ”he said.
They told Daily Trust on Sunday that the school authorities had been threatening those that were not able to pay the amount with automatic repeat, as they would not be allowed to sit for their exams.
“They refused to conduct the exams until we were paid salaries. When we got salaries and many of us refused to pay, they bluntly told us that if we didn’t pay we will not take the exams and must repeat the course next year,” one of the participants said.
The Nigeria Prisons Public Relations Officer, Francis Enobore, said he was not in the position to confirm the story. He, however, directed our reporter to the Commandant in charge of the training centre.
But the Commandant of the Nigerian Prisons Training School, Kirikiri, Lagos, Assistant Comptroller of Prisons, Tajudeen Aremu, dismissed the allegations, insisting that it may have emanated from mischief-makers.
He said that the N1000 that was paid as stated in a circular issued before the commencement of the programme.
“No examination was put on hold because of the alleged refusal of participants to pay the mandatory N35,000. In fact, over 400 participants have paid the said sum. Only about seven have made part-payments and with the promise that they are going to pay before the end of the programme.
“The need for the payment of the said sum is clearly spelt out. It is meant for the purchase of ceremonial uniform, P-caps, belts, tracksuits, note books and computer materials for graduating students.
“It is the practice that the service provides ceremonial uniforms for all junior staff alone and not for senior officials. Those attending the course are of the ranks of Superintendent of Prisons (SP) and Chief Superintendent of Prisons (CSP). They are suppose to provide for themselves and not the other way round.
“Part of the money will also be used to organize gala night for the graduating students. No exams was put on hold. Last Friday, participants did their syndicate test, while on Monday they will be writing the remaining part of their exams. The gala night has been slated for Tuesday evening, while Thursday is the passing out parade,” he said.