The One Love Family & Caring Association, known as One Love Foundation has advanced a letter to the Controller-General of Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) Mr Haliru Nababa, over the ban on visitations to the Correctional centres placed by the Service on religious groups.
In a letter signed by it’s President, Chief Patrick Eholor, the NGO requested for a meeting with the comptroller. It expressed worry over the hardship prisoners are undergoing as a result of the recent ban, and wondered what could be done to correct it.
Part of it’s worries are published below, “As part of our social work schedule for the year 2022, we are undertaking a convict rehabilitation programme called “Second Chance.” For this programme, our foundation drew up a curriculum of prison visitations by social work counsellors, pastors and imams who are partners with our foundation for the purpose of moral reorientation, preaching instructions and skills acquisition training for correctional centre inmates across Nigeria. Accordingly, we communicated our said programme to various state controllers of your correctional services.
“Sir, to our dismay, we were informed by state commands of your service that an administrative memo originating from the office of the Controller-General prohibits every form of charity activity, including the various aspects of our Second Chance philanthropic programme, except the operators of such activity obtained the written authorization of the Controller-General.
“This hard-to-comprehend restriction against constitutional and religious acts of charity which both the major faiths of Christianity and Islam command have grievously disrupted our foundation’s humanitarian support programmes for inmates in the past and in the present, as well as other NGOs’ charity support for innates across the country. Please, see sample of attached news media publication marked Appendix A1 & A2, and One Love Foundation’s Freedom of Information request list to your office on Nigeria prisoners’ welfare, marked Appendix A3 for your perusal and action.
“We of One Love Foundation and our civil society partners hereby respectfully seek an interactive meeting of civil society groups and NGOs with the office of the Controller-General for enlightenment by your office as a public institution established to serve the best interest of correctional service reforms and inmates’ well-being in Nigeria.
“We look forward to your confirmation of the earliest feasible date for our visit”.
Speaking further about the Foundation’s 2nd Chance Rehabilitation Programme for inmates, Eholor expressed worry over the lackluster attitude of law protection authorities and human rights groups in the face of the restrictions.
He stated that laws blocking charity for prisoners are very dangerous and tantamount to totalitarianism.
“What are our lawyers doing, what are the senior advocates doing, what is Yemi Osibanjo doing with all these injustice? How can the centre have so much power that if you have to do anything meaningful in this country, you have to come to Abuja?
“We are now asking questions, and we must get answers, using the Freedom of Information Act. We want to know the annual budget of the prisoks, because we understand the prisoners are not being fed or cared for, they don’t get their emoluments.
“They don’t get trade work or schooling, the system is rotten. We will keep fighting until these things are corrected. This is what we are coming to do with One Love Foundation, and we won’t stop until we get to the top”, he stated.