AN Onitsha based legal practitioner, Thompson Chikezie has urged President Muhammed Buhari and all state governments in the country to collaborate with each other and fashion out a result oriented measures that will free the correctional centers of congestion.
Mr Chikezie noted that all previous efforts seem to have yielded little dividends as the centers are still congested with many inmates languishing there both conventional and those awaiting trials.
Making the call during the launching of a new non-governmental organization, ”Free Neighbour Foundation”, a foundation instituted by some legal practioners in the state to render free legal services to the indigent and poor persons who had secured bail for four youths held up in prison custody, Messrs Ikechukwu Oligbo, Ibezim Ikechukwu, Nnamdi Anya and Nzube Okafor in Nnew,
Chikezie maintained that it is high time governments in Nigeria unite to come out with a fool proof measures that will decongest Nigeria prisons instead of paying lip services to it, by making sure that those problem like poor prosecution on the part of the police, logistics among other bottlenecks are taking care of, adding that time has come for the country to learn from the advance nations where prison serves as a correctional measures instead of being punitive.
According to him, ”it is unfortunate that Nigerian prisons are still congested despite government propaganda that all is okay, it is really pitiable that if you go to various prisons, you see a lot of young Nigerians languishing there mostly as a result of poor prosecution by the police or on one flimsy excuses or the other, some of them sometimes die there either because of overcrowding, lack of good medical attention, among others.
“Often you see a space meant to contain two people containing six inmates. So both the federal and state governments should collaborate to fashion out a policy that will take care of many unattended cases which are in the majority and give them express attention for our prisons to be decongested. I suggest that the power of Nigeria Police on prosecution of cases should be curtailed and in its place a body made up of lawyers to take control to quicken prosecution of cases which will decongest the prisons.”