Illicit Drug Deals: Uyo Prisons, A Thriving Little Colombia, Official Says

The Uyo Correctional Service Centre, better known as Uyo Prisons in Akwa Ibom State, has turned into a little Colombia as far as its thriving narcotic drug deals is a concern.

Colombia is notorious for its criminal groups producing and distributing illegal drugs. According to Wikipedia, Colombia had four major drug trafficking cartels and several bandas criminales, which eventually created a new social class and influenced several aspects of Colombian culture and politics.

The Colombian government efforts to reduce the influence of drug-related criminal organisations is one of the origins of the Colombian conflict, an ongoing low-intensity war among rival narco-paramilitary groups, guerrillas and drug cartels fighting each other to increase their influence and against the Colombian government that struggles to stop them.

In Uyo prisons, there seems to be a raging backstage war among rival officials in the drug ring. Babafemi Jaiyeoba, a Deputy Comptroller of the Service, dropped this hint while answering questions from news reporters over some allegations raised against him by his aggrieved staff.

Jaiyeoba is claiming that during a recent cell search, bags of Indian hemp, kitchen knives, illicit gin and other dangerous weapons were discovered and later linked to some of the officials of the prisons.

Of recent, some officials have been making damaging allegations against the prisons chief, Jaiyeoba, ranging from starvation of inmates, due to alleged diversion of food items, the secret burial of late inmates who lost their lives due to hunger and diversion of vocation tools donated.

The aggrieved workers have also alleged extortion of funds from inmates and their relatives by the management of the centre, among other issues

But Jaiyeoba is dismissing these weighty allegations against him as the handiwork of a group of rebellious officials whose illegal businesses in the service were recently exposed and the infuriated officials resorted to blackmailing and rebelling against the authority of the service.

Continuing, he said shortly after discoveries were made, the officials involved began instigating ‘the condemned’ against the authority, leading to a decision to relocation such inmates to Port Harcourt.

Apparently irked that their illicit businesses will be adversely affected by such drastic steps to restore sanity to the Correctional Service centre, one of the officials, according to the Jaiyeoba decided to register his protest by skipping work for a week.

On resumption, the prisons chief decided to subject the official to minor disciplinary actions, which he bluntly rebuffed. “On taking further steps to instil discipline, the official openly threatened to ‘rubbish me’, and personally listed the forgoing allegations against my person”, Jaiyeoba claims.

Insisting on his decision to deal decisively with officials who promoted rebellion and use of hard drugs in the Correctional Service centre, Jaiyeoba said as former armed robbers, kidnappers and other hardened criminals, still exposing the inmates to hard drugs would make it difficult for such ones to be controlled in the center.

He defended that he could never have diverted food and other items meant for inmates to private use, as he has no reason to have stooped so low because the federal government has provided all the needs of the center.

“We have continued to do our best to take care of the people in our custody. We ensure they have regular medical care, we feed them well, even with scombia fish in their meals. Though we have lost six out of 1005 of them within the year, but most of them died in hospitals.

‘’Though we have done our best to save as many as possible through prompt medical interventions, but death, as you know, is inevitable for humans. We know where these allegations are coming from, we can mention their names, but because their cases are still being investigated, we have to allow them, while we continue to do the right thing.’’

He admonished those he described as bad eggs in the service to repent because no amount of blackmail would deter him from conferring the true status of a correctional center to the service, by continuing to ensure that any official who smuggles hard drugs and other dangerous weapons to the inmates is duly tried and prosecuted.

He announced that his recent act of transferring some irate inmates instigated by the corrupt officials paid off as the last batch of cigarettes smuggled in were voluntarily handed over to the authority, with an apology letter by the leadership of the inmates.

The prisons chief has hinted that in addition to vocational training, talent hunt, primary school and other reformative interventions in Uyo centre, the Akwa Ibom Ministry of Education had recently approved a secondary school known as Akwa Ibom Correctional Development Centre, with additional approval for a Center for the conduct of Senior School Certificate (SSCE) and NECO within the facility.

Jaiyeoba has also announced a future plan to enroll successful graduates of the just approved schools to the National Open University.

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