6 February 2018

Nigeria: NGO Reveals Causes of Overcrowding in Prisons

A justice reforms organisation, Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE) has identified pervasive corruption, abuse of power, and impunity as responsible for prisons overcrowding in Nigeria.

CURE-Nigeria's executive director, Sylvester Uhaa also traced the embarrassing condition of prisons in the country to lack of accountability and transparency within the three arms of the criminal justice system being the police, judiciary, and Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS).

CURE's message followed a recent statement by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on the presentation of prison report by the Prison Reform and Welfare Action (PRAWA) and the NPS on the one hand, and the resolution by the House of Representatives to look into the challenges of prison congestion.

"These are well known facts about our prison system. Several past Presidential Committees on Prison Decongestion visited prisons across the country and have made several recommendations that would have prevented the current situation. But those recommendations were put on the shelves and forgotten, in spite of the millions of Naira spent on financing them," he said.

"It is our hope that the renewed national discourse about prison reforms/decongestion such as what we are seeing in NASS will be sustained and pursued to a logical conclusion. But to achieve these, the NASS must work collaboratively with the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, State Commissioners of Justice, state Chief Judges, state commissioners of police, states houses of assembly, NGO's and other key stakeholders in the justice sector," he added.

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