The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) has addressed the recent beauty pageant held at the Kirikiri custodial centre in Lagos state.
The Kirikiri correctional facility had earlier organised an event to mark this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD).
The beauty pageant, however, sparked a wave of condemnation over the participation of Chidinma Ojukwu, the prime suspect in the murder of Usifo Ataga, the late Super TV CEO.
Chidinma was crowned ‘Miss Cell 2022’ in the pageant category during the event.
According to NAN, Francis Enobore, NCoS spokesman, reacted to the controversy trailing the issue in Abuja.
The NCoS spokesman said the service is sensitive to the plight of victims of crime and their families and will not indulge in any activity that will undermine their sensibilities.
Enobore said the NCoS identified with the Atagas in their moment of grief and would do everything within its power to assist the course of justice in unveiling those behind the Super TV CEO’s murder.
“The intendment of the pageant was not to glamourise or make heroes out of criminality,” he said.
He added that the pageant in question was one out of series of events at the ceremony that featured competition in dancing, singing, bead making and costume design among others.
“Aside creating a relaxed atmosphere for inmates, the prizes do not bestow any right or privilege on any of the contestants,” he added.
“Moreover, the event was for internal consumption within the custodial environment and never meant to be given wide publicity.”
He stated also that prizes were won by other inmates equally facing charges for heinous crimes.
Enobore added that the service believed that controlled social engagements did not interfere with trial of cases in court as activities within custodial centres had no bearing with evidence needed for cases to be tried.
“For the records, psychosocial engagements have traditionally been part of the Service’s inmates treatment regimens designed to provide emotional stability needed to promote total well-being of inmates and enhance safe custody,’’ he said.
He recalled that several artistes like Sammie Okposu, Onyeka Onwenu, Pasuma, Denrele, among others staged lavish concerts at the Kirikiri and Ikoyi male custodial centres in the past to fete inmates.
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