The Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) on Tuesday in Abuja said that it had begun the recovery and confiscation of cell phones “smuggled” into prisons by inmates.
Spokesperson of the service, Ope Fatinikun, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.
Mr. Fatinikun said that the renewed effort followed a directive by the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, that the service should recover all the cell phones within 30 days as part of efforts to sanitise the system.
“I can assure you that the process of recovering all these cell phones has begun and we would work round the clock to ensure that they are recovered within the 30 days given by the minister,” he said.
Fatinikun who declined to give details of the recovery process for security reasons, however, said that the operation would be carried out with utmost professionalism.
He said that despite the fact that it was illegal for inmates to possess cell phones, some of them still managed to sneak in the phones without the knowledge of officials.
He absolved the prison officials from any complicity in the illegal act, but said that security and surveillance would be tightened to ensure that the ugly trend did not continue.
The spokesperson said all the phones recovered from the inmates would be destroyed with a warning that inmates should desist from the act or face stiffer sanctions.
“From my experience I would tell you that most of these cell phones are smuggled into the premises without the knowledge of the officials
“Some of these inmates even go as far as concealing the phones in beverage sachets, but even before the directive we had been doing our best to recover them,” he said.
Mr. Fatinikun said the service would continue to do its best to reposition the service in line with international best practice in spite of the challenges.
The Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, had on November 21 given the Nigerian Prison Service a 30- day ultimatum to recover all cell phones being used by inmates in prisons across the country.