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National

Prison Decongestion : Prevent Delays In Justice Dispensation – HOR

todayMarch 7, 2024 6

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As part of efforts to decongest the 244 correctional centers across the country the House of Representatives has called on the Federal Ministry of Justice to prevent delays in justice dispensation and enhance process of meeting bail conditions.

The House further urged security agencies to avoid arbitrary arrests, devise and promote effective reformation, rehabilitation, and reintegration of inmates to utilize its prerogative of mercy to grant amnesty to deserving inmates.

These resolutions followed the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance moved by Chinedu Ogah during plenary in Abuja.

Moving the motion, Ogar noted that the Nigerian Correctional Service, a federal entity under the Ministry of Interior, is a part of the criminal Justice System under Exclusive list.

He also noted that the Nigerian prisons, were mandated to reform, rehabilitate, and ensure effective reintegration of offenders into the society in line with universally accepted standards.

He expressed worry that Over 70,000 inmates in the country face inadequate facilities despite government efforts, and some have not been charged with criminal cases, while some are unable to pay the fines imposed by the courts despite having their cases determined.

“Disturbed that by the Nigerian criminal justice system is plagued by flaws, with cases often lingering without resolution for years, thus overcrowding the correctional centers in various geopolitical zones”.

“A data system reveals that federal offenders comprise less than 10% of correctional system inmates, leaving over 90% to state offenses”.

“Overcrowding of the Correctional facilities has led to a huge revenue drain for successive governments, leading to prison dilapidation, criminalization, and inability to separate awaiting trial inmates from convicted ones”.

Ogar further explained that implementing the criminal justice system and the adoption of non-custodial measures would effectively reduce the overcrowding of national prisons.

The House after adopting the motion, urged the Federal and State Governments to provide comprehensive reforms of the country’s correctional system, including modernizing
custodial centers, building new facilities, and redesigning the bail system.

The House also proposed a legislation to allocate time for the speedy dispensation of justice and reduce the number of inmates awaiting trial

They also moved to examine the role of the federal and state governments in the correction of inmates and to propose sustainable, efficient solutions to address the congestion in 244 jails nationwide and the effective implementation of non-custodial measures.

The House therefore mandated its committee on Justice to ensure compliance.

Oduyemi Odumade, edited By Grace Namiji

Written by: Editorial Team

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