By Etop Ekanem
THE Federal Government has been advised to set in motion, machinery to decongest the prisons and make sure that they are in tandem with international standards.
The advice was given by Anthony Cardinal Okogie, atÂ the Mass/Interaction with the inmates of the Kirikiri Prisons, Lagos, with the theme: â€œI was in prison you visited me,â€ at the weekend.
Okogie, who was represented by the Very Rev. Msgr. Gabriel Osu, Director, Social Communication, Lagos Archdiocese, said government must provide the necessary requirements for the prisoners in the country.
He said: â€œWe have a situation where cells meant for 100 inmates provide for 500; that is overcrowding in prisons. We have a situation where food for prisoners are inadequate and health facilities are below expectation. There are stories of people contracting diseases of imaginable proportions in the prison.Â Government must not toy with prisoners’ health.â€
He advised the prisoners to â€œrespect constituted authority for God gave them the power to rule over us. You must not revolt, donâ€™t be violent, nor do the things not expected of you. Be humble and donâ€™t complain.” On the allegations that Prison officials connive to trade off food meant for prisoners, he said, â€œthis must stop if we want to make prisons what they ought to be-correctional institutions/centres for the improvement of the behaviour of criminals.â€
Okogie equally solicited improved remuneration for the Prison officials, saying: â€œPrison officers must be given adequate remuneration and welfare package, for if he/she who is supposed to protect others is not protected, how would that person protect others? The Prison Service needs overhaul, re-organisation.â€