Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Number of inmates awaiting trials worry Nigerians



Nigeria’s Correctional Facilities have long been characterised by high number of individuals awaiting trials, often for extended periods, in overcrowded and under-resourced facility

This situation is not only raising concerns about human rights violations but also about health implications and security.

According to findings, Nigeria’s prison population is more than 76,000, housed in 240 correctional centres and about 70% of these inmates are still awaiting trial.

This is the highest percentage of awaiting-trial prisoners in Africa.

The scale of the problem is alarming, with a significant portion of the prison population consisting of individuals who have not been convicted of any crime but remain in detention while their cases are pending.

This phenomenon has led to a myriad of challenges as prisons are over crowded due to prolonged detention and failure of arms of government to carry out their duties as they should

Cofounder of the Justice project, Moses Ida Micheal said there is a need for reforms of the criminal justice system starting from the police to correctional centres.

A Social Affairs Commentator, Mr. Adeola Imani advocated for prompt legal aid to represent non-privileged detainees, who cannot afford lawyers in court to help reduce congestion in prisons.

A Lawyer, Mr Ayinka Abayomi harped on adequate funding, improved investigative processes, and more efficient court procedures are vital components of a long-term solution.

Others said the issues requires a multi-faceted approach, involving not only legal reforms but also improvements in infrastructure, the allocation of resources, and a commitment to upholding the rights of those in detention as it is a complex issue that requires sustained efforts from all stakeholders to ensure justice and human dignity for those caught in the legal limbo of pre-trial detention.