By Mike Ebonugwo
Alarming ordeals of inmates in overcrowded cells
70% languish as awaiting trial inmates
2, 194 on death row
As FG moves to explore non-custodial sentencing
‘UNFORTUNATELY very alarming!” That is how the the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, recently described the current state of prisons in Nigeria.
Indeed, unlike what obtains in other more organised climes where the prison is seen as a rehabilitation and correctional facility for those who have violated the rules and regulations of their society, in Nigeria it basically exists as a harsh place of detention. In other words, it is, as presently constituted, in no way conducive to the envisaged reformation of prisoners and their rehabilitation or preparation for reintegration into society.
It was a reality President Muhammadu Buhari readily acknowledged when he directed last October that urgent action be taken to decongest Nigerian prisons which he described as shockingly overcrowded and remain an embarrassment to the nation.
Speaking when he hosted a delegation of the judicial arm of government led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the President estimated the over crowding at up to 90 per cent, adding thus: “We need a new approach to prisons decongestion. Urgent new measures should be put in place to speedily deco