Prison Congestion: Coalition wants action on 2,000 death-row inmates in Nigeria

A coalition of international organisations including the Community of Sant’Egidio, the World Coalition for the Abolition of Death Penalty (WCADP) and Life Wire International Foundation (LWIF), have call for action on the over 2,000 people, who they said were on death roll in Nigeria as at the end of 2018.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday in Abuja, with the theme, “Prison Reform and Ending Death Penalty in Nigeria”, a leader of the Sant’Egidio Community, and Theology and Religious Studies expert, Prof. Jan De Volder, expressed concern for the continuing flaws in the system, especially the prison congestion which he said was also due to the presence of abnormal high number of non-convicted inmates awaiting their trial in prisons.

The organisations which claimed to have visited different prisons in Nigeria including Ikoyi, Kirikiri, Port Harcourt and Enugu prisons, however commended the Federal Government for the recent adoption of the bill on prison reform, changing the name of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) to Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS).

He urged stakeholders that the recent adopted Bill should be more than a name change and window dressing, but the start of real shift of mindset, which helps to make the Nigerian Correctional System more human and effective.

Volder lamented that 75 per cent of inmates in various prisons across the country are currently awaiting trial.

He therefore urged lawmakers and people involved in the judiciary to ensure that the laws are properly implemented, especially for quicker and better procedures, so that non convicted suspects do not spend endless time behind the bars.

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