From: Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
The Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke has warned staff and inmates of the Nigerian Prisons Service, NPS, Onitsha, Anambra state to stop smuggling marijuana and other substances suspected to be hard drugs to the inmates who are serving various jail terms or awaiting trials inside the prison custody.
Archbishop Okeke, who spoke against the backdrop of a complaint lodged to him, by the Deputy Comptroller of Prisons in-charge of Onitsha Prisons, Ibrahim Usman, alleging that hard drugs usually found its way into the prison yard for the inmates, said that if the trend continues, efforts by the state government to reform the inmates would become a fruitless exercise.
He said that smuggling marijuana or other substances into the prison for the inmates to take could pose a great danger to the entire society as it would have an adverse effect in the efforts by the state government and individuals to reform the inmates.
Usman had complained to Rev. Okeke about his observation that since he was transferred to Onitsha prisons as the Deputy Comptroller that marijuana and other hard drugs were usually smuggled into the prison for the inmates, by unknown persons, even as he warned that anyone caught would be dealt with severely.
In the reaction, Rev. Okeke noted that his visit to the prisons during festivals as he had done in the past was an indication that the entire Onitsha Catholic community have vested interest in the reformation process of the inmates.
The Archbishop who also flagged off a N29 million skill acquisition centre to be executed by the Onitsha Catholic community at the prison premises, warned both staff and non staff of Onitsha prisons to stop taking hard drugs to the inmates henceforth, adding that anyone caught should be arrested, detained, arraigned and convicted for supplying hard drugs to the inmates.
According to the cleric, “if after taking hard drugs, the inmates take up arms and turned out to be more deadly, they would constitute nuisance to the society and both the suppliers of the hard drugs and others would not be exempted from the consequences of their violent actions”.