Nigerian prisons need a holistic reform — Senator Andy Uba

Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 16 February 2018 | 1,932 times

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•Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior, Senator Andy Uba

Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior, Senator Andy Uba, has stated that the need for prison reform in Nigeria cannot be over-emphasised, adding that the present condition of the country’s prisons is a national embarrassment.

The senator made this disclosure yesterday during a one-day public hearing he chaired on four prison reform bills at the National Assembly.

However, the bills were passed for second reading by the Senate and were referred to the committee for further legislative action.

In his remarks during the hearing, Senator Uba maintained that there are many arguments that lend credibility to the need to promote prison reforms central to which is the human rights argument.

According to him, “The rot in infrastructure has continued to pose a great setback in service delivery to persons serving jail term. In conformity to international best practices, it is imperative that we institute regulatory and legal framework to combat these challenges.

“Some of my concerns questions training and welfare of inmates, preclusion from abuse and torture, preservation of human dignity, condition of condemned inmates and some other values. For instance, someone who is wrongly convicted, say after 10 years, he’s found to be innocent, do we just allow him walk away without compensation?”

The lawmaker, however, expressed optimism that the just concluded public hearing will afford the Senate the opportunity to share opinions and ideas, and to collaborate, in a bid to achieve a better prison service that will deliver on reformation ideals for incarcerated people.

Also speaking at the hearing, Comptroller-General of Prison, Alhaji Ahmed Ja’afaru, who led the delegation from the Nigerian Prisons Service to engage with the committee on the best possible ways to tackle head-on, identified the precarious challenges and how to put a more humane face to the Nigerian Prisons.

Responding, Senator Uba maintained that “the issues raised by the CG of Prisons will be adequately looked into, just as the contributions proffered by the various NGOs, Stakeholders, legal practitioners and other members of the Civil Society Organisations.”

The four bills are as follows:

1. AN ACT TO AMEND THE PRISONS ACT CAP P. 29 LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA, 2004 AND ENACT THE NIGERIAN PRISONS AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICE BILL TO MAKE PROVISIONS FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF PRISONS IN NIGERIA AND OTHER RELATED MATTERS, 2017.

2. AN ACT TO AMEND THE PRISONS ACT CAP P. 29 LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA, 2004 TO PROVIDE FOR A MOTHER AND BABY UNIT FOR THE CARE OF FEMALE PRISONERS WHO ARE NURSING MOTHERS AND THIER BABIES AND FOR RELATED MATTERS.

3. NIGERIAN PRISONS AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES ACT, 2016.

4.  CORRECTION, REFORMATION AND REINTERGRATING CENTRE (ESTABLISHMENT) BILL, 2018.


Source: News Express

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