The management of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), organisers of the beauty pageantry competition in which Chidinma Ojukwu, the suspected killer of Super TV Chief Executive Officer, Usifo Ataga, emerged the winner, has expressed regret over its action.
In a statement by the NCoS Public Relations Officer, Francis Enobore, the Service had “no intention of glamourising criminality or injuring the sensibilities of the Atagas’ in their moments of grief.”
Spokesman Enobore said, “Miss Cell” is a yearly event organised for the emotional stability of the inmates.
He said this year’s “Miss Cell 2022”organised at the Kirikiri facility in Lagos, to mark this year’s International Women’s Day Celebration, was not the first of its kind.
PRO Enobore however, assured Ataga’s family that the Service would do everything to ensure that the course of justice is served.
The statement by NCoS reads in part:
“The attention of the NCoS has been drawn to concerns raised in some quarters, with respect to the recent events held at the Kirikiri Female Custodial Centre in Lagos, to mark the International Women’s Day and note, with deep regrets, the unintended interpretations it has elicited from different quarters.”
“For the records, psychosocial engagements have traditionally been part of the Service’s inmates treatment regimes, designed to provide emotional stability, needed to promote total well-being of inmates and enhance safe custody.”
“It would be recalled that several celebrities and internationally recognised artistes, suchas Sam Okposo, Onyeka Onwenu, Pasuma, Denrele, Lamboginny, to mention but a few, have carried out lavish concerts in the male custodial centres in Kirikiri and Ikoyi to celebrate with the inmates irrespective of their status.”
“The intendment has never been to glamourise or make a hero out of criminality…”
“The beauty pageantry in question, was one out of the series of events that featured competition in dancing, singing, bead making, costume design, etc.”
“Other prizes were won by other inmates equally facing charges for heinous crimes. Aside creating a relaxed atmosphere for theinmates, the prizes do not bestow any right or privilege on any of the contestants.”
“Moreover, the event was for internal consumption within the custodial environment and never meant to be given wide publicity…”
“While identifying with the Atagas in their moment of grief, the NCoS wishes to state, without equivocation that, it will do everything within its power to assist the course of justice in unveiling those behind the dastardly act.”