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Senate Considers Bill To Decongest Prisons

Senate Considers Bill To Decongest Prisons

The senate is taking steps to review the administration of the justice system to ensure the decongestion of prisons across the country.

A lawmaker, Senator Babajide Omoworare introduced a bill seeking to amend the criminal justice act to make it mandatory for the Comptroller General of prison to send monthly reports of the entire prison inmates to the Chief Justice of Nigeria and state Chief Judges.

Minister of Interior, Abba Moro disclosed at the second reading of the bill that 70 per cent of persons locked up in Nigerian prisons are awaiting trial.

“This disturbing detention of persons is tantamount to an infringement of their fundamental rights as ordained in our constitution…the overpopulation of the prisons have largely been responsible for the incessant jail breaks in Nigeria and with this comes the attendant security risk to our nation as both convicted and awaiting trial inmates disappear into thin air,” Omoworare said.

The proposed law is to ensure that the Chief Justice shall on the basis of that report, order the release of inmates who are detained unlawfully or detained longer than the maximum period of imprisonment.

It was revealed that several other attempts to decongest Nigerian prisons had failed.

A federal lawmaker says previous efforts such as an intervention fund of about N8.7 billion under the supervision of the ministry of justice in 2006 has seen no tangible result.

Several lawmakers supported the amendment and expressed confidence that the amendment would be the solution to the problem.

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