The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has appealed to the Minister of Internal Affairs, Rauf Aregbesola, to extend reprieve to those serving prison sentences, particularly the 54 soldiers.
The civil society group spoke through its arrowhead, Professor Ishaq Akintola, in a statement circulated to the media on Monday, 4th October 2019.
Minister of Internal Affairs, recently pledged to decongest Nigeria’s correctional facilities within six months during a public hearing organised by the National Assembly Joint Committee on Appropriation.
“The honourable minister has good intentions and the idea is quite laudable, visionary and humane. Available data indicates that more than 70% of inmates of correctional centres are awaiting trials. This has caused severe congestion forcing inmates to sleep in turn. The queue for hours in front of the toilets. This is dehumanising, degrading and inconsiderate.
“Exempli Gratia, 1,574 out of 1,761 inmates in Anambra are awaiting trial. Out of the 600 inmates in Aba, only 113 of them are serving full sentences. The rest are awaiting trial and expectedly, 80 of them have gone mad. It is so pathetic, so alarming.
“Then comes the question of space. Our correctional centres are not large enough; neither do they have the necessary facilities to retain a human face. 585 inmates jostle for 400 spaces in Ekiti. 4,424 inmates are using the space designed for 1,354 inmates in Rivers. Owerri Correctional Centre contains 2,500 instead of 550. This is why Aregbesola’s move to decongest the prisons could not have come at a better time.”
“With the total number of prisoners in Nigeria standing at 73, 631 as at 18th July, 2018 in a population of roughly 199 million one wonders why Nigeria cannot provide enough facilities in its correctional centres when its prison population rate is just 37 per 100,000.
“It is noteworthy that the world prison population rate, based on United Nations estimates of national population levels, is 145 per 100,000. The rate for Western African countries is 53 whereas for southern African countries it is 244 per 100,000.