… Tasks Govt. Agencies To Submit Outstanding Reports
Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior, Senator Andy Uba, has stated that the need for prison reform in Nigeria cannot be overemphasised, adding that present condition of our prisons is a national embarrassment.
The senator made this disclosure on Thursday during a one-day public hearing he chaired on four prison reform reform Bills at the National Assembly.
However, the Bills were passed for second reading by the Senate and were referred to the committee for further legislative action.
In his remark during the hearing, Senator Uba maintained that there are many arguments that lend credibility to the need to promote prison reforms central to which is the Human Rights argument.
According to him: “The rot in infrastructure has continued to pose a great setback in service delivery to persons serving jail term. In conformity to international best practices, it is imperative that we institute regulatory and legal framework to combat these challenges.
“Some of my concerns questions training and welfare of inmates, preclusion from abuse and torture, preservation of human dignity, condition of condemned inmates and some other values. For instance, someone who is wrongly convicted, say after 10years, he’s found to be innocent, do we just allow him walk away without compensation?”.
The lawmaker however expressed optimism that the just concluded public hearing will afford the Senate the opportunity to share opinions and ideas, and to collaborate, in a bid to achieve a better prison service that will deliver on reformation ideals for incarcerated people.
Also speaking at the hearing, Comptroller-General of Prison, Alhaji Ahmed Ja’afaru who also led the delegation from the Nigerian Prisons Service to engage with the committee on the best possible ways to tackle head-on, identified the precarious challenges and how to put a more humane face to the Nigerian Prisons.
Responding, Senator Uba maintained that “the issues raised by the CG of Prisons will be adequately looked into, just as the contributions proffered by the various NGOs, Stakeholders, legal practitioners and other members of the Civil Society Organisations.”
Senator Andy Uba however harped on the need for other agencies of government to submit their outstanding reports for proper scrutiny.
Following are the four Bills:
1. AN ACT TO AMEND THE PRISONS ACT CAP P. 29 LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA, 2004 AND ENACT THE NIGERIAN PRISONS AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICE BILL TO MAKE PROVISIONS FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF PRISONS IN NIGERIA AND OTHER RELATED MATTERS, 2017.
2. AN ACT TO AMEND THE PRISONS ACT CAP P. 29 LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA, 2004 TO PROVIDE FOR A MOTHER AND BABY UNIT FOR THE CARE OF FEMALE PRISONERS WHO ARE NURSING MOTHERS AND THIER BABIES AND FOR RELATED MATTERS.
3. NIGERIAN PRISONS AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES ACT, 2016.
4. CORRECTION, REFORMATION AND REINTERGRATING CENTRE (ESTABLISHMENT) BILL, 2018.
Senators present at the public hearing on the #PrisonsReform were Senators: Oluremi Tinubu, Jide Omoworare, Clifford Ordia, Andrew Uchendu, Nafada Bayero, Shehu Sani and Senator Andy Uba, chairman Senate committee on Interior.
According to Senator Tinubu: “There should be establishment of seperate prison facilities for the women, the female prison should be seperated physically with a certain distance from the male prison”
Senator Oluremi Tinubu advocated special care for Pregnant women and children under 0-3yrs, says some NGOs are willing to also assist in this regard.
“The major problem is finance, if this bill is passed it will form additional expenses, extra security will be needed, how do you hope to cope with all these” Senator Bayero Nafada said.
“430 prisoners graduated from National Open university of Nigeria,”Comptroller General of Nigerian Prisons Services, Ahmed Ja’afaru stated.
Adding, He said: “We have 2,281 condemned inmates nationwide who have exhausted their appeals and are awaiting the death penalty but the governors are not willing to sign their death warrants which is causing congestion in the prisons.”
In response, Senator Shehu Sani narrated his prison ordeals and says that compensation of prisoners should not be the burden of the Nigrian Prisons.