NCoS Hotel Project Not Funded By FG, Says Official

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Faced with the controversy trailing the unveiling of “COCOS Hotel and Gardens”, an investment of the Correctional Service Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society, the leadership of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) has declared that the project is not funded by the federal government.

The national spokesperson of NCoS, Abubakar Umar, who reacted to the issues raised about the facility, said the hotel, shared on the service’s official Facebook page, is strictly about staff welfare and a product of strategic thinking and efficiency on the part of the agency ‘s cooperative unit.

Contrary to claims that the hotel was recently unveiled, Umar said the 105-room hotel, an investment of the Correctional Service Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society (COCOS) was officially commissioned on March 1, 2021 by a former minister of interior, Rauf Aregbesola.

Umar, who wondered why some people would discourage meaningful investments, said “We have done so much on the issue of inmate reformation and rehabilitation. It’s unprecedented that today, we have more than 200 inmates undertaking various degree programmes.

“We have six inmates currently running their PhD programmes. That is an achievement. In fact, in 2018, Nigeria Prisons Service as it was called then won an award from UNESCO on Literacy, all these are commended achievements.

“Today, we have skills programmes across most of our custodial centres. It’s a giant stride too. As we speak, we have an inmate, Chinedu, who has written a book that is about to be launched,” he said.

He added that the “Hotel and Gardens” with photos of the magnificent twin structures of the facility and its different specifications were painted in the colours of the Nigerian Correctional Service.

The hotel, which according to him, is located at the NCoS Headquarters premises, Bill Clinton Drive, Airport Road, Abuja, boasts of 106 rooms, a swimming pool, lounges, a conference hall, a rooftop garden, a gym, and other amenities.

The NCoS spokesperson who further explained that the cooperative society was established primarily to serve as frontline support that would provide financial succour to personnel of NCoS, has consistently guaranteed the buoyancy of the cooperative and gives members more value for their money that the idea of investing in the hospitality industry was considered.

According to him, this profitable innovation was championed by the immediate past controller -general of corrections Jar’faru Ahmed, whose disposition throughout the journey demonstrated his passion for the welfare of personnel in 2020.

On the strategic location of the hotel, he said, citing the facility close to the airport would provide proximate accommodation to travellers for local and international flights.

“This is because, for a very critical organ of government like NCoS, any effort to boost the morale of personnel is commendable and also a step in the right direction,” he added

Umar advised that rather than lash out at them, the initiators of the co-operative society should be commended for making it a sustainable financial support base for officers and men of the correctional service.
It is particularly gratifying to note that COCOS has not only remained viable in providing financial succour to staff, but has stepped up to become an enviable enterprise capable of providing more dividends to all members.

The hotel, posted on the Correctional Service’s Facebook page, had sparked mixed reactions as some Nigerians have likened it to the nation’s poorly developed facilities, saying it is short of the best standard and not a necessity.

Others commended the service for the stride which they believe would help generate funds to back the service daily financial needs, a few others are of the view that venturing into hospitality business would further push them to deviate from their core objectives.

“What is the Nigerian Correctional Service doing with the hotel? They should just concentrate on how best to tackle the many challenges that require urgent attention in the prisons. This money should have been channelled to the appropriate areas. They should work on addressing jailbreaks,” Mr. Paul Keene wrote.

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