By Ibironke Ariyo
Abuja – The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) has commenced the manufacturing of drugs in order to meet the health demands of inmates across the country.
The Controller General, NCoS, Mr Ja’afaru Ahmed, said this during the inauguration of the service 2020 drugs distribution programme to various Custodial Centres across the 37 commands on Monday in Abuja.
He said that the drug company which was situated at the Kuje Custodial Centre in Abuja, was currently producing only Paracetamol and Septrin (cotrimoxazole.)
“We are already working. We have the drug compounding unit in Kuje, which has started producing Paracetamol and Septrin [cotrimoxazole].
“We wish to expand from there to see that one day, the service will be able to produce all the drugs that we require because we have all the expertise.
“We have already made it a limited company by guarantee and that means it has kicked off, ” he said.
Speaking with newsmen after the inauguration of the drugs distribution programme, Ahmed said that the service had been neglected for quite some years causing stagnation of its personnel.
According to him, the service often had to seek the support of local governments and state governments in terms of providing drugs for inmates.
“Formerly, we go from one place to another, local government officials, state governments, canvassing for drugs for inmates, but it is a thing of the past now as Federal government has been able to provide us with drugs.
“From 2015 till date, the service no longer begs for drugs as the government has been able to support and provides drugs for inmates across the nation.
“NCoS gets N77 million per month to purchase drugs and other equipment which are being distributed to over 75,000 inmates throughout the federation in 244 formations.
“In every pharmacy that you go in all our 244 formations, you will find drugs there but what we want is a situation whereby the health of the inmates that are put under our care is catered for,” he added.
Earlier, the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, said that the drugs distributed would serve all the custodial centres for the year 2020.
Aregbesola said that he was certain that attendance to the health challenges of the inmates would be faster through drugs distribution across the formations.
He urged that the drugs should be used for the purpose for which they were bought, adding that the health of the inmates must be prioritised.
“It is good we are going to be producing drugs since we have capacity now and we are using this forum to appeal for quick approval of National Agency For Food And Drug Administration And Control (NAFDAC).
“I will work together with you to get the approval from NAFDAC so we can start producing our drugs effectively and freely,” he said.
Aregbesola commended the NCoS effort in preventing outbreak of diseases in its custodial centres in spite of overcrowding.