The attention of the Nigerian Prisons Authorities has been drawn to a publication in one of the daily newspapers captioned “Prison Officers Accuse CG of Hijacking Salaries”. It was alleged that over 2,000 staff have their salaries split into two with half paid into a ‘secret’ account allegedly owned by the CG in a Micro Finance Bank, presumably Prisons Micro Finance Bank (PMFB).
We feel deeply restrained to respond to this spurious allegation because the medium used for the publication is seen as a reputable platform for credible information dissemination. It is however curious that no care was taken to carry out basic investigation into the accusation before publication thus making the allegation puerile and laughable.
For the record, the PMFB is an independent business outfit of the Prisons Multipurpose Cooperative Society (PRISCO) with its governing board and under the supervision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Company (NDIC).
Secondly, it is well known that personnel salaries are paid directly from CBN through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) to beneficiaries account and staff members including the CG are at liberty to domicile their pay point in any Bank of their choice.
Thirdly and most amazing is the fact that no Prisons Staff member has his salary domiciled in PMFB anywhere in the country therefore none receives salary through the bank. The question then is at what point does CG or indeed any third party have contact with personnel salary?
It is also worrisome that the publisher is ‘not aware’ that BVN is a prerequisite for operating any Bank account therefore ownership of ‘secret’ account where about 2,000 personnel salaries are paid is not possible.
It is a common knowledge that if there is anytime the morale of prisons personnel is high, it is now. With the promotion of over 11,000 staff members many whose promotion have stagnated for over 15years, prisons officers have regained their dignity and are more dedicated to their duties now than ever. The calm and peace in prisons across the country and cessation to incessant jailbreaks and prisoners escapes that once dotted the landscape is no doubt a testimony to positive changes in the Service.
The CGP and the teeming dedicated officers remain focused and will not be distracted by frivolous accusations. The policy thrust is to ensure safe and humane custody of prisoners while providing avenues for effective rehabilitation and re-integration at the end of their sojourn and this we will achieve.
The public is advised to discountenance the allegation as there is no iota of truth in it.