Nigerian Correctional Service: Redeploy Lagos Command Controller Now

It has become pertinent to write on the national security threats of the activities of the Controller of Lagos State Command of the Service. Not only has he become a threat to the security of custodial centres in the State, he has also become a thorn in the flesh of junior and middle-level officers. He has reduced the custodial centres to his business enterprises where he influences officers to be posted as officer-in-charge of the custodial centres.

Unfortunately, the Lagos State Command of the Service has the least staff strength and the highest lockup in the federation. The cries to recruit new staff fall on deaf ears. No single station in the State Command has up to ten (20) junior staff again due to the harmonisation of ranks, promotion, retirement and resignation. The need to recruit at least, ten thousand junior staff every year for the next five years has become long overdue. Lagos State Command should get nothing less than forty per cent (40%) of the total staff recruited yearly.

This dire need for staff recruitment for the Command must be addressed urgently to avoid waking up one day to hear and read that inmates have overpowered the few available staff strengths.

In the face of this dire staff shortage, the State Controller abuses the use of staff. He has no regard for seniority in the Command. He uses junior staff to head senior officers in sensitive positions in the custodial centres. All he cares about are those who can do the “dirty work” to fetch him money, and not those who are qualified, and by their ranks, are appropriate to head.

The Lagos State Command, headed by one Ben-Rabbi Freedman, a so-called reverend is a threat to custodial and national security. He runs the State Command, and the five custodial centres under his watch like his personal business enterprises. He works with some corrupt senior officers of like mind at the national headquarters, Abuja to influence the posting of incompetent officers to head high-profile custodial centres in the State. These officers in return, pay him heavily daily, weekly and monthly. Depending on “sales” during the week.

Controller Freedman has added nothing to the Lagos State Command since he was selected. He bought his way to become the Controller of the Command because ordinarily, he does not have the wherewithal to run a State Command like the Lagos State Command. He hardly participates in state security meetings with the State Governor. He has never attracted support from the Lagos State Government to the needy State custodial centres.

He has a very poor relationship with other members of the administration of criminal justice in the State. He does not care about the good of the Command he heads. He has failed in the sensitisation and implementation of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019. He is working seriously to gather as much as he can before he is promoted to his next rank. The State Command has become a shadow of its former self. A visit to the State Command and its custodial centres will compel one to ask if there are ever budgetary allocations from the national headquarters to the Command.

All his concern is how to influence the posting of loyal officer-in-charge to custodial centres who will be paying him in return. He has monetised the yards. He influences the running of these custodial centres by placing people of interest in sensitive positions in the custodial centres at the expense of national security.

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With the rate at which he is going, it should not be a surprise to hear and read that he has sold inmates, and used the custodial centres as collateral to obtain loans.

He rarely stays in the State for a week before he travels to his state, and outside the country to enjoy his largesse.
During his reign as the officer-in-charge of the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kirikiri, he ran the station down. He monetised it. This is a story for another day.

All his atrocities from his time as the officer-in-charge of Medium, Kirikiri, and as a cash-and-carry controller of the Command, will be made public if he is not removed from the Command in the next twenty-four hours (24 hours), or he recuses himself. He is not fit to hold any position in the security architecture.