© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Nigerian Correctional Service Act to resolve overcrowding in prisons
THE Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Ita Enang, says the Nigerian Correctional Service Act would empower the rejection of addition inmates, whereby the prison is filled to capacity.
This assertion follows President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval of the bill to change the name of the Nigerian Prisons Service, now referred to as Nigerian Correctional Service.
Enang said the Act guaranteed that persons with an expeditious trial or awaiting trial, probably due to the laxity of the magistrate or overcrowding of the magistrate court, can be transferred to correctional facilities.
The Nigeria Prisons Service, in a report, as of July 22, estimated inmates population by convicts and awaiting trial persons to be 73, 995 inmates: Males, 72,504 and females, 1,489.
While the total number of those awaiting trial amounted to 50, 427, the total of convicted inmates were 23,568.
Enang says the Nigerian Correctional Service bill beyond the change of name, was enacted to also ensure inmates and workers were in the good human condition.
He said such human conditions thrive within the carrying capacity of the prisons, even as the question of overcrowding has been resolved by the Act.
“In the event that the prison has exceeded its maximum capacity, the State Comptroller shall notify the Chief Judge of the State or the State Criminal Justice Committee
“Upon receipt of the notification the Chief Judge or the State Criminal Justice Committee shall within a period not exceeding one month take necessary steps to rectify the overcrowding,” the bill said.
He said inmates would have the platform to learn various desirable skills, of which parts of the proceeds generated from the practised skills would be given to the inmate and part, to the correctional facility.
Enang said alleged corrupt practices in terms of ration will be eliminated, as service retains a percentage of what they generate in addition to budgetary provision to work with.
Giving a background of the bill, Enang said The Nigeria Prisons Service bill was passed by the 8th senate, which ceased to exist in June.
“This bill was transmitted to him on July 20th and was assented to on August 14th, so Mr President signed within the 30 days period.
The time doesn’t begin to run from the dates the bills were passed. It is 30 days from the date when the bill was transmitted to him,” he said.