22 August 2017

Nigeria: Deaths in Prison - Rights Group Writes NASS, NHRC

A prison reform organisation, Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE), has written to the House of Representatives Committee on Interior and Health seeking a visit to prisons nationwide to ascertain the state of health facilities.

In separate letters to the committees dated August 7, 2016, the executive director of CURE, Sylvester Uhaa, said the visit was necessary following the mandate by the House to the committees to embark on it.

Uhaa said the visit would help them ascertain access to medicare following the death of 900 inmates nationwide and 32 in Lagos in 2016.

"We wish to remind your committee that Nigerians are waiting for the outcome of your visit and the steps you have taken to ensure that the Federal Government provides people with access to health and medicare to prevent further deaths," he said.

CURE also wants the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to make public the report of its investigation into the killing of six inmates and injuries at the Abakaliki Prison in Ebonyi State on August 18, 2016.

Uhaa said independent accounts by other inmates showed the inmates, some of whom have taken refuge in different areas of the prison following a riot, were extra-judicially killed by officials.

"I wish to remind the commission that justice delayed is justice denied and that the commissioner being the government's human rights watchdog is under obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of Nigerians and foreign residents in Nigeria," Uhaa said.

"This includes the obligation to investigate all human rights abuses and hold violators to account as well as ensure that appropriate and adequate compensations are paid to the victims' families, and make recommendations to prevent reoccurrence," he added.

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