More than 80 percent of prison inmates in the country are awaiting trials, a report has indicated.
The report just released by the Centre for Crisis Communication, CCC, to mark its one year of dedicated service to the nation notes that the unwholesome criminal justice system in the country is largely responsible for this state of things.
The Executive Secretary of the Centre, Yusuf Anas, a retired Air Commodore, who made the report available to the media further said the remaining 20 percent represents convicted prisoners stressing that apart from the convicted offenders, the prisons also provide abode for those who are still awaiting trials for various crimes and offences ranging from pick-pocketing to terrorism.
It noted that the prisons are indeed very sensitive and important security institution which must be accorded its place of priority and strategic importance in the overall interest of the society.
The Centre expressed dismay over reported cases of security breaches that led to attempted and actual prisons breaks across the country adding that an assessment of a number of Nigerian Prisons revealed a dire situation across the various prison facilities in the country.
It observed that apart from the obsolete and debilitating state of most of the prisons, there is an apparent shortage of the holding facilities resulting in congestion, which is largely due to the huge number of awaiting trial inmates.
It called on the authorities to carry out reforms to make prisons across the country more habitable, noting that the staggering ratio of actual convicts to the awaiting trial inmates is indicative of a systemic failure in our criminal justice system.
The centre said it does not support the current agitation for the breakup of the country as this would mean a setback of years of unity and progress enjoyed by Nigerians.
It also deplored the situation in Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps across the country and called for unhindered access for humanitarian activities for both government and international donor agencies. It nevertheless commended the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, for its relentless intervention on the plights of IDPs.
It also commended government’s efforts at tackling Boko Haram and other insurgencies in the country.