BY CHIDI NKWOPARA
The Chief Judge of Imo State, Hon. Justice Benjamin Ahanonu Njemanze, has appealed to the federal government to consider, as a matter of urgency, the reconstruction of the dilapidated infrastructure in Owerri Federal Prisons or build a new one that will be fit for human habitation.
Justice Njemanze, who made his feelings known when he conducted jail delivery session in the prison, also lamented that the establishment, which was built in 1929 and originally programmed to accommodate only 548 inmates, was now housing a staggering 1,693.
“The prison, which was built in 1929 by the colonial masters, was originally conceived to accommodate only 548 inmates but it is today harbouring 1,693. This is not the best we can give our citizens,” Justice Njemanze said.
He also described as very sad a recent survey that adjudged Owerri Federal Prisons as the most congested. He discharged and acquitted some of the inmates who, he said, ordinarily would completely have served out their terms of imprisonment if convicted, and granted bail to others.
Speaking earlier, the Deputy Comptroller of Prison, Mr. Ndubuisi Ogbodo, said overcrowding, dilapidating structures and acute transportation difficulties remained some of the recurring problems of the establishment.