Prospects of 3,000 capacity prison in Bauchi
There have been mixed reactions since the news broke that a 3,000 capacity zonal prison worth N13 billion is to be sited in Bauchi State. While some people in the state took to social media and other platforms to ventilate their displeasure over the capital intensive federal government project, describing it as a misplaced priority, many others saw it as a welcome development for the state. Those in the second group saw the proposed prison as yet another opportunity for the state to play host to the North-East zonal project which is one of the 3,000 capacity prisons to be built across the six geopolitical zones of the country. Already, that of the North-West zone situated in Kano, has been launched and construction is on-going. Bori in Rivers State would be hosting the South- South zonal prison.
To many, and indeed the Emir of Bauchi, Alh. Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, it is a dream come true as he has been consistent in his appeals to the government for the relocation of the Bauchi-central prison from its present location in Bauchi metropolis to a safer location.
Nobody is doubting the strategic location of Bauchi, being the gateway to the North-East zone. It is arguably the most suitable city for the prison project because of the relative peace it enjoys.
In addition, Bauchi serves as zonal headquarters to many government establishments. All the paramilitary services have their zonal headquarters in Bauchi, including the Zone ‘C’ headquarters of the Nigerian Prisons Service.
The ultimate goal of building these prisons, as disclosed by the Minister of Interior, Lt.Gen.Abdurrahman Dambazau (rtd) during the ground breaking event in Kano, is to have a prison system that encourages and supports reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders. This means that with the establishment of an ultra-modern prison in the state, there would be remarkable improvement in the administration of criminal justice system in the state. When built, the modern prison will come along with standard working facilities such as school for inmates, clinic, skills acquisition centre among others. The teething problem of congestion the now 500 capacity Bauchi prison is facing will be a thing of the past the moment the new prison is completed. That will as well pave way for proper and effective classification of inmates according to their offences. In a nutshell, it will be dawn of a new era whereby Bauchi would be placed on the global map of cities with modern correctional facilities.