Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Nigeria and UK to swap prisoners

The United Kingdom and Nigeria have reached an understanding to swap prison inmates the moment Nigeria signs its Prison Act into law.

The chairman of senate committee on human rights and judiciary, Senator Dahiru Tambuwal disclosed this yesterday at the national human rights commission (NHRC) flag off of the 2012 prison audit at Kuje prison.

Senator Tambuwal said that the Bill seeking the amendment of the Prison Act has gone through the second reading and would be finally passed by the senate next week.

United Kingdom, he added, has promised to provide money to fund the process of prison inmates' exchange, as well as rehabilitate the prisons where such prisoners from United Kingdom would be kept at least to meet minimum world standard.

This is coming against a disclosure by the chairman of House of Representatives committee on human rights , Hon Beni Lar that the amount budgeted to feed prison inmate per day is two hundred naira (N200).

Hon Lar who was also at the Kuje Prison for the NHRC flag off of 2012 prison audit said all hands were on deck by her committee to increase the N200 per day feeding allowance for prisoners in Nigeria in view of the current reality.

Meanwhile, the deputy comptroller of Nigeria Prisons, Mr Kasali Yusuf stated that as at yesterday, the total prison inmates in Kuje was 500, and out of this number, 401 were on awaiting trial list, 99 were those that have been convicted.

He said that the challenge of the prison condition in Nigeria was becoming everybody's challenge on the grounds that it was irreconcilable that more than three-quarters of the entire prisoners in Nigeria fall on the category of those awaiting trial.

"There are those held for capital offences that can not easily be disposed off. Before this can be done easily, the criminal justice system which is made up of the police, the courts, attorney general of the federation and Nigerian prisons must chart a course to make the system workable.

"Our justice system, especially, our criminal laws and criminal trial process requires overhauling. Justice can be on one side, both the complainant and the person being complained about must be heard equally".

The NHRC boss, Professor Bem Angwe, said that with the renewed effort, coupled with the NHRC Act 2010 in place, the Nigerian prisons would sooner or later no longer be the same.

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