Abuja – The Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) on Thursday said over 80 per cent of prisoners in Nigeria were awaiting trial.

Detainees in a holding cell at the prison

The Communication Manager of PRAWA in the FCT, Mr Edward Okeke, disclosed this on Thursday at news conference in Abuja.

Okeke said that the number of prisoners awaiting trials in detention was steadily increasing everyday, adding that the phenomenon had overstretched the prison facilities.

“Presently, the total figure of prisoners in Nigeria oscillates between 72,000 and 72,500 as at March 19.

“It is alarming to state that over 80 per cent of inmate population in Nigerian Prisons does not account for inmates in other detention facilities operated by various arresting agencies are awaiting trials.

“The total number of awaiting trial males are 47,735 with females numbering 1,063.

“This phenomenon puts severe strain on efficient management of prison resources,’’ Okeke said.

He said this had made the functions of reform and rehabilitation of prisoners an arduous task given the dearth of resources in an over-stretched system.

He said PRAWA was collaborating with the necessary agencies in a bid to decongest the prisons, .

“We are collaborating with the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) and the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACON), supported by the Foreign and commonwealth office of the British Government for easy access to legal representation for indigent persons,” he said.

The communication officer said that the partnership with other relevant bodies in training and retraining para-legal officers as well as provision of legal services was also to decongest the prisons.

He said that PRAWA was committed to achieving its vision by seeking further partnership within and outside Nigeria to ensure quick trials for inmates.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that PRAWA is an NGO pushing for the emergence of a humane and secure society that corrects and empowers to prevent crime, violence and torture. (NAN)

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