‘Grant amnesty to inmates’- House of Reps tell FG how to decongest 244 prisons in Nigeria

March 6th, 2024



The House of Representatives on Wednesday, March 6, advised the federal government to show mercy to deserving inmates so as to decongest correctional centres across Nigeria.

 

Adopting a motion sponsored by Chinedu Okay (APC, Ebonyi), the House told the Federal Ministry of Justice to prevent delays in justice dispensation in the country and enhance the process of meeting bail conditions.

The House wants the federal and state governments to provide comprehensive reforms of the country’s correctional system, including modernizing custodial centres, building new facilities, and redesigning the bail system.

 

The lawmakers called for sustainable, efficient solutions to address the congestion in 244 jails nationwide and the effective implementation of non-custodial measures while devising and promoting effective reformation, rehabilitation, and reintegration of inmates.

Moving the motion, Ogah said the Nigerian prisons were mandated to reform, rehabilitate, and ensure effective reintegration of offenders into society in line with universally accepted standards.

According to him, over 70,000 inmates in the country face inadequate facilities despite government efforts, and some have not been charged with criminal cases, while some are unable to pay the fines imposed by the courts despite having their cases determined.

 

“Some have not been charged with criminal cases, while some are unable to pay the fines imposed by the courts despite having their cases determined.”

“The House is disturbed that the Nigerian criminal justice system is plagued by flaws, with cases often lingering without resolution for years, thus overcrowding the correctional centers in various geopolitical zones.

“The House is also disturbed that a data system reveals that federal offenders comprise less than 10 per cent of correctional system inmates, leaving over 90 per cent to state offenses.

“We are also alarmed that overcrowding of the correctional facilities has led to a huge revenue drain for successive governments, leading to prison dilapidation, criminalization, and inability to separate awaiting trial inmates from convicted ones,” stressing that implementing the criminal justice system and the adoption of non-custodial measures would effectively reduce the overcrowding of national prisons.”

‘It also tasked both layers of governments to Propose legislation to allocate time for the speedy dispensation of justice and the number of inmates awaiting trial; examine the role of the federal and state governments in the correction of inmates; propose sustainable, efficient solutions to address the congestion in 244 jails nationwide and devise and promote effective reformation, rehabilitation, and reintegration of inmates.”

 


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