Nigerian Correctional Service partners with UNODC, UNAIDS and EU to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Custodial Centres

Abuja, 07 May 2020 – While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 in the 244 custodial centres in Nigeria, reports from across the globe show that once the virus has gained access to prisons it is extremely hard to control its further spread. Prison overcrowding and the poorer health profile of inmates make people living in prisons significantly more susceptible to contract the virus and to suffer severe symptoms if infected. Stringent preventative action is thus critical. Since the lockdown, UNODC has therefore partnered with the National Correctional Service first supporting efforts to inform inmates and staff on how to stay safe and subsequently through the provision of basic protective and preventive equipment and supplies, including gloves, face masks, sanitizer, dispensers as well as infrared thermometers. The items were procured with the support of the European Union through the ‘Response to drugs and related organized crime in Nigeria’ Project and in collaboration with other UN agencies, including UNICEF and UNAIDS.

Receiving the equipment on behalf of the Nigerian Correctional Service, the Comptroller General, Ja’afaru Ahmed, expressed “appreciation to the UNODC and the EU for the assistance they have been rendering to the Service”, pledging that the “items would be judicially used.”

As the pandemic evolves, UNODC and the leadership of the Nigerian Correctional Service will continue to spare no effort to safeguard the health of the people living and working in custodial centres and other detention settings in Nigeria.

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