The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) Zone G, Benin, has begun producing bread in commercial quantities for its inmates and members of the public.
In a speech at the official handover of the bakery to the concessionaire, the First Global Hakitekt Bread Bakery Limited, for effective management, the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, described the project as laudable.
Mr Tunji-Ojo, represented by the ministry’s director of special duties, Comfort Kabirwa, commended the different controllers in the zone, comprising Edo, Delta, Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi, for their buy-in into the project.
He underscored the importance of Public Private Partnerships (PPP), saying that the recent decongestion of correctional centres in the country was not government funded but facilitated through corporate social responsibility.
“The bakery is a laudable project because it will help build the skills of the inmates, give them a source of livelihood, and make them employable after leaving the correctional centre,’’ Mr Tunji-Ojo said.
He further said that changing the name from prisons to correctional “was intentional not just for rebranding but to change the way prisoners were treated,” even after serving their terms.
Earlier, the controller general of corrections, Haliru Nababa, said the bakery was the initiative of the NCoS and the concessionaire under a PPP arrangement.
Mr Nababa said the project was also supported by the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Finance, and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission.
“It is a pilot initiative aimed at enhancing the performances of federal government projects,” he said.
Mr Nababa, represented by the NCoS zonal controller, Zone G, Friday Ovie, said the initiative was in line with the mandate of the service, which included inmates rehabilitation via skill acquisition.
Meanwhile, the bakery’s managing director, Dare Eluyemi, said the project was not only to equip inmates with bakery skills but also to create jobs in the bakery value chain.