By G9ija

In efforts to prevent the outbreak of any dangerous disease in Calabar Correctional Service Custodial center, the authority of the Center in Cross River State has solicited and received support from the state government to equip and operate an isolation ward.

The Calabar Correctional Custodial center located in Afokang Street in Calabar South as of September 8th, 2020 had a total number of 490 inmates against its capacity of 450 inmates and they are about resuming admission of fresh inmates. All new inmates will be isolated and tested of COVID-19 before being allowed to mix with old inmates.

Comptroller of Prisons in Cross River state, Mr. Thomas Yakubu Dankaro made the disclosure Wednesday when he paid a courtesy call to the state Commissioner for Health Dr. Betta Edu and subsequently led the Commissioner to respond with a donation of items to equip the isolation ward in the custodial center.

Dankaro commended the state government for its swift response and for the timely donation of items for the immediate set up an isolation center in the correctional facility.

According to him, “I am very impressed in fact I didn’t know that she will respond so fast like this. This shows that the government of Cross River State has a great passion for its people and this shows that the state is actually prepared for something like that. We are very grateful for the way that the commissioner has responded on behalf of the Governor. For some time now, we have not taken fresh inmates because of the COVID-19 pandemic but we now have clearance to begin to accept new inmates with strict compliance to the prevention protocols.”

Speaking of the gesture from the Cross River State Government to the authority of the correctional service, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu said Cross River state is doing all its best to sure that criminal justice in the state is executed without any impediment.

“We have had a situation in Cross River State where there have been a delay or an impediment to criminal justice since March this year, the correctional service has not been able to take in inmate into the center. Inmates from the Police, Court, DSS, Drug Enforcement, and the rest were unable to be accepted to the Correction Centre due to Covid19, but however there has been pressure from the criminal justice system right now so they need to begin to take inmates into the correctional center immediately”.

In her words, “Our visit today was to inspect the isolation center and to donate items that will fully equip the isolation center. We also want to create a link between the Rapid Respond Team in the Covid19 taskforce to link them up with the correctional center so that whenever there are people that are to be taken in, they would come in, take their sample, and within 24hr this result should be made available to the correctional center to decide if the people are supposed to continue in the isolation ward or if they should be moved to the general cell. If they are found to be positive they would be kept till they become asymptomatic and after 14 days they would also have this test done again if they found to be negative they will now be allowed to go to the general cell. But if they are found to be positive they will still be kept in isolation”.

She added, “We want to prevent Covid19 outbreak in the correctional facility, we do not want a case where someone who is positive goes in and begin to infect other people and it leads to loss of lives or morbidity in this correctional center, that’s why we are working hard in collaboration with them to see that this can be done as soon as possible”.

The Health Commissioner commended the state Comptroller of Prisons for being proactive and for having the inmates at heart. Accordingly, she called on the federal government to support the Custodial Center with funds to enable them to carry out this massive task.