Leadership (Abuja)

4 December 2012

Nigeria: Over 70 Percent of Prisoners Are Awaiting Trial - Prof. Angwe

Executive Secretary National Human Rights Commission, Professor Bem Angwe, has observed that 70 percent of inmates in Nigerian prisons have no business there because they are awaiting trial.

He made this observation in Sokoto, yesterday, at a sensitisation meeting with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the National Action Plan (NAP) for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Nigeria.

Represented by the Director of Public Affairs and Communication, Muhammad Nasir Ladan, the executive secretary disclosed the commission's effort at decongesting Nigerian prisons through legal means, and noted that the commission embarked on Nigerian prison Audit project which was flagged off in Kuje Prison a month ago and added that NHRC intended to visit all the prisons in Nigeria.

Lamenting the overdue detention of most inmates without trial, Prof. Angwe said that they were shocked to hear that most prisoners languish in jail because their case files were either missing or the Investigation Police Officer (IPO) handling their cases had been transferred.

He noted that, though many see such detentions without trial as an endemic problem that could not be resolved with the needed urgency; he, however, expressed optimism that with consistency of the campaign against human rights violation such an act would soon become outdated.

Given credence to the bitter experience of many awaiting trails, Ahmed Buhari Rabah of the Ministry of Justice, Planning and Research, Sokoto State commended NHRC for its committed fight against injustices and human rights violations, and noted that budget implementation was part of the problem leading to such delays in justice dispensation.

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