By Peter Duru
FOLLOWING the reported death of over 900 inmates in prisons across Nigeria in 2016, a human rights and justice reform organisation, Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants, CURE-Nigeria, has called on Nigeria Prisons Service, NPS, Nigeria Police and other detaining agencies in the country to report all deaths of persons in their custody for independent investigation into the causes of death.
Executive Director of CURE-Nigeria, Mr. Sylvester Uhaa, in a statement in Makurdi, said the demand became imperative in view of the deaths in detention facilities across Nigeria, with no one being held accountable.
He said: “You may recall that over 900 inmates were alleged to have died in prisons across Nigeria in 2016, with 32 in one prison in Lagos. This number did not include alleged deaths in police custody and other detention facilities.
“We are aware that the Mandela Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners mandate the prisons to report the death of a prisoner to his or her next of kin or emergency contact; notify the person designated by the prisoner of his or her serious illness, injury or transfer to a health institution, except where the prisoner did not give this permission.
“In spite of these provisions, CURE-Nigeria is not aware of any compliance to these rules by the Nigerian Prison Service, the Police and other detaining agencies in Nigeria and we demand compliance to check impunity, torture, lawlessness, abuse of power and lack of accountability.”