Respite came the way of prison inmates across the country as the Senate, on Tuesday, removed hard labour from Nigerian Prisons Act, saying that hard labour was a colonial inheritance.
It recommended that ‘hard labour,’ according to Section (8)1, is “an inheritance from colonial era and should be deleted and replaced with Prison Labour.”
The upper legislative arm of the National Assembly also recommended a bill for an Act to repeal the Prisons Act Cap. 129 Laws, 2004 and enact the Nigerian Prisons and Correctional Service.
This was aimed at underscoring the humane aspect of the reform focus of prisons administrations and to conform with provisions in the international instrument.
The decision was arrived at following the amendment of the Prison Act carried out by Senate Committee on Interior, chaired by Senator Atiku Bagudu, who also solicited for the accommodation of the Nigeria Prisons reform in the Subsidy Re-investment Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).
Speaking during the consideration of the report of the committee, Senator Bagudu recommended that anybody who interfered with the work of a prisoner by working outside a prison or entering any house committed an offence and was liable to one year imprisonment or N10,000 fine.
Section 8(g) stipulated that “interference with a prisoner working outside a prison, or allows such a prisoner to enter any house, yard or other premises (unless it is at the request of the prison officer or other person in charge of the prison), or assists such a prisoner to absent himself or neglect his work, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N10,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months, or both.”