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Children locked in rooms at youth prison up to 23 hours a day – report


Children locked in rooms at youth prison up to 23 hours a day – report

Children being held in a privately run prison have been locked in their rooms for up to 23 hours a day in uncomfortably hot conditions, according to a damning report by three inspectorates.

Inspectors who arrived unannounced at Oakhill secure training centre (STC) for boys aged 12-17 identified “widespread failings” which they said were having “a significant impact on the care and wellbeing of the children held there”.

The centre’s records showed that from mid-July 2021 onwards, children being held at the institution in Milton Keynes spent approximately 19 hours a day on average locked in their rooms, increasing to 23 hours on some days, and the report noted that the true figure could have been even higher.

“The Youth Custody Service (YCS) reported to inspectors that it questions the accuracy of the centre’s data, indicating that the time children have spent locked into their rooms could be higher than that reported by the centre,” the report states.

It is not the first time concerns have been raised about children being held in near solitary confinement in STCs.

All children were removed from Rainsbrook, near Rugby in Warwickshire, after inspectors raised safety concerns when, at the start of pandemic, new arrivals as young as 15 were locked in their rooms for a fortnight and allowed out for just 30 minutes a day, because of concerns about coronavirus.

Some of those children were then transferred to Oakhill, which had 46 resident at the time of the monitoring visit in September. G4S, which runs Oakhill, blamed the highly restricted regime on a staffing crisis, with significant numbers forced to self-isolate because of Covid regulations.

The Oakhill report, by the schools watchdog Ofsted, the Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), also identified a “significant increase in violence”. It said children’s day-to-day experiences were “very poor”, organisation was “chaotic”, children did not know what was happening from one day to the next, and education was often delivered through a locked bedroom door.

The report went on: “The temperatures in children’s living units and in other parts of the centre are too high. This leads to an environment in summer months that is not conducive to the positive care of children.”

Andrew Neilson, director of campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said the “distressing” realities in the report echoed the league’s own findings of “boys locked in their cells for hours on end without fresh air or face-to-face education”.

“The Howard League opposed the creation of secure training centres in the 1990s. In the decades since, hundreds of boys and girls have been harmed and abused while private companies have profited from their misery. This report on Oakhill should be the final straw. It is time to close the secure training centres and ensure that boys and girls in trouble are given the care and support they need.”

A spokesperson for Oakhill said: “The safety of children at Oakhill secure training centre is paramount. Earlier this year, staff numbers at Oakhill were severely depleted by the impact of Covid-19 as significant numbers of staff were required, under prevailing regulations, to self-isolate at home.

“Since the Ofsted visit Oakhill’s operating regime for children has improved and, over the past month, children have been able to spend on average 12 hours out of their rooms daily. Education in classrooms has been restored and children are now receiving a full educational programme.”

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Ogun State Set to Distribute 5,000 Certificates of Occupancy

Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State

Ogun State Government will, on Friday, December 1, distribute 5000 Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) to beneficiaries.

A statement issued on Tuesday by the office of the Director General, Bureau of Lands and Survey, said Governor Dapo Abiodun will present the certificates to beneficiaries, thus enhancing the value of their properties, as they can be used as collaterals, while house and landowners can also take advantage of the state’s proximity to Lagos to maximise value.

The beneficiaries are drawn from the Ogun State Land Administration and Revenue Management System (OLARMS) and the immediate pass administration’s Home Owners Charter (HOC).

The event will be held at the Arcade Ground, Governor’s Office, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta.

According to the statement, beneficiaries would be mandated to present valid means of identification.

They will also be accredited by the Bureau of Lands & Survey before the commencement of the distribution.

“The present administration in the state embarked on the exercise aimed at authenticating land documents of all house owners in the state with a view to adding value to the properties and getting the owners to formalize and benefit maximally from them.

“Additional 10,000 certificates of occupancy are in the pipeline for distribution within the next one year, urging interest application to take advantage of the opportunity,” the statement read.

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TASUED Convocation: Abiodun Gifts Three Best Graduating Students N2m Each

L-R: Best graduating student (2021-2022) from the Department of Biology, Elibe Patricia; best graduating student (2020-2021), from the Department of Mathematics, Sunday Oluwafemi; Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, best graduating student from the Department of Mathematics (2022-2023), Sanyaolu Mercy and the First-Class student of Mathematics under the indigenous work-study program, Okewale Nelson during the 13th,14th and 15th combined convocation of Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijebu-Ode on Tuesday.

The three best graduating students of the Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijebu-Ode, representing the 2020/2021, 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 academic years, have been awarded N2 million each by Governor Dapo Abiodun for their academic feats.

The cash award was announced on Tuesday by the Governor during the 13th,14th, and 15th convocation ceremonies of the institution.

He also announced N500,000 to the best graduating students in each of the colleges for the three years from 2020 to 2023.

The recipients are Sunday Oluwafemi, with a GPA of 4.89 (2020/2021); Obadina Patricia Elibe with GPA of 4.89 (2021/2022) and Mercy Deborah Sanyaolu with GPA of 4.86 (2022/2023).

The governor announced a cash of N250,000 to a first-class student, Okewale Nelson, who, despite taking advantage of the ingenious work-study program of the institution, was able to earn a first class degree in mathematics.

Abiodun disclosed that the feat recorded by Nelson has shown that working while studying is not a deterrent to academic success, calling on other students to take advantage of the program and go the same way.

The governor, while empathizing with the students over a recent robbery attack on some of their colleagues residing off campus, said that his administration would root out those obstructing the peace being enjoyed in the state.

He noted that his government remains and maintains a zero tolerance policy for criminal activities, even as he warned of dire consequences on anyone caught disrupting the peace of the state.

Governor Abiodun urged the graduating students to reciprocate the gift of learning and character modelling that the institution has bestowed on them, noting that his administration remains committed to creating an enabling environment for growth and development aimed at making the state economically stable for all.

Abiodun promised that his administration would continue to work diligently to the purpose of utilising the vocational courses acquired during their time in school.

He charged the graduands not to allow the fear of failure to deter them from taking the opportunities, noting that the path ahead may be demanding, but challenges are stepping stone to greatness.

In his address, the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oluwole Banjo disclosed that 12,700 students graduated in the 13th,14th, and 15th combined convocation ceremony, while 329 graduated in the postgraduate college.

He also said that 113 students graduated with first-class honours.

In his remarks, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council; Prof Rahamon Bello, noted that the institution has developed a reputation as being dynamic, accessible and responsive to change.

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Ekiti Govt Sues Chef Dammy’s Pastor, Demands N10m Damages

The Directorate of Citizens Rights (DCR) from the Ministry of Justice in Ekiti State has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ekiti-born Damilola Adeparusi, popularly known as Chef Dammy, against Pastor Jeremiah Adegoke and the Ekiti State Police Command for alleged infringement of the chef’s rights.

In the suit filed at the State High Court and marked HAD|23, DCR also seeks compensation of N10 million for damages on behalf of the student chef.

The DCR also asked the court to enforce a restraining order to prevent Adegoke and the police from re-arresting Chef Dammy.

After attempting a cook-a-thon challenge to break the Guinness World Record in June, Chef Dammy rose to fame.

The lawsuit was filed barely a week after Chef Dammy was reportedly arrested on the order of Adegoke, who was her pastor.

Adegoke is the head pastor of Spirit Word Global Mission, an Ekiti-based church that reportedly sponsored Chef Dammy’s record-making cook-a-thon.

The controversy between Chef Dammy and her pastor started in October, after the 24-year-old raised alarm over alleged relentless threats and intimidation from individuals whom she tagged “people of God” and her pastor.

The 300-level Mass Communication student of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), said that she had been threatened and bullied, making her live in constant fear for her life.

Although the source of the feud between the chef and her once-supportive pastor is still vague, their dispute appears to have been a fallout of the cook-a-thon.

Following Chef Dammy’s public outcry, Adegoke, in a letter signed by his lawyers, Bisayo Sule & Co. legal practitioners, dated October 23, 2023, demanded a retraction of the alleged defamatory statement on social media, an apology to two widely read national dailies, and the payment of a sum of N22 million for damages.

He gave Chef Dammy seven days to comply with the demands or risk being sued.

However, in the suit filed by Olugbenga Akinlabi, the deputy director of citizens rights in DCR, Chef Dammy, was named as the applicant; Adegoke and Ajewole Samuel, the Ekiti State Commissioner of Police, and the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 17 Akure, were named respondents.

The lawsuit seeks a declaration that the continued harassment, molestation, threat of arrest, and intimidation by the pastor and the Nigerian police infringe on the applicant’s fundamental human rights

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