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The implication is that, between December 2016 and now, an additional
837 suspected criminals had been sentenced to death. According to
a senior security source, the rise in the number of inmates on death row
was a potential threat to prisons security in particular and national
security in general.

He explained that considering their fate, the condemned inmates have
the potential of instigating security breaches of whatever form, knowing
that no punishment could be worse than what stares them in the face.
“After enquiry, I can tell you that the current population of inmates on
death row is 2,277.  “There is an increase of over 800 between December
2016 and now, and this calls for worry. “I say this because
intelligence had revealed in the past, that they (condemned inmates) may
have masterminded some past jailbreaks and other breaches,” the source
said. Asked to disclose the total inmate population, he said: “The total
population of inmates in prisons across the country is 71, 443, out of
which 48,702 are awaiting trial.”

In Ogun State, no fewer than 254 inmates are on death row. As at last
year, 90 inmates in Kaduna Prisons had been condemned to death for
offences ranging from murder, armed robbery to rape. In Lagos, 202
inmates are on death row while there are 179 condemned inmates in Enugu
Prison. On the way out, the source maintained that: “First, let
governors be courageous enough to endorse death warrants for eventual
execution of those whose appeals have ran out. “In the alternative, the
National Assembly could initiate amendment to the constitution, to
possibly remove capital punishment therefrom.”

The Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Prisons Service, Mr. Francis
Enobore, a Deputy Comptroller of Prisons, confirmed the report in a text
message. Meanwhile, the Federal Government has raised the alarm over
the sorry state of Port Harcourt Prison, lamenting that the facility
turns inmates into animals.

To buttress its point, it said the formation, which was conceived to
hold 800 inmates, now accommodates 5,000. Minister of Interior, Lt.-
Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), who made the startling revelations
yesterday in Abuja, further lamented that the state of Port Harcourt
Prison, is a microcosm of the general neglect of the sector. Dambazau
represented Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at a public presentation of
three volumes of Prison Survey Report (PSR) compiled the Nigeria
Prison Service (NPS), as well as the Prisoners Rehabilitation and
Welfare Action (PRAWA).

The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, mandated the
committees to report back in six weeks. This was sequel to a unanimous
adoption of a motion Rep. Olufemi Fakeye (Osun -PDP) at plenary on
Wednesday. In the motion, Fakeye said that the level of congestion in
prisons across the country had become so alarming that they no longer
served as correctional facilities or reformation centre for inmates. He
said that information from the Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare
Action (PRAWA), as well as the Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) showed that
only 21,354 inmates, comprising 21,009 males and 345 females, were
convicts.

The lawmaker said that the remaining 46,756 inmates, comprising
45,765 males and 991 females, were still awaiting trial. He said that
due to high congestion in virtually all the prisons, the inmates were
exposed to risks of epidemics, jail breaks, lack of reform, transmission
of bad habits and crime techniques hardened criminals. He said that
anti-social behaviours and moral decadence, ranging from homosexuality
to other forms of human abuses had also become common features of the
prisons. According to the lawmaker, congestion in the prisons has become
so acute that many cells meant to accommodate about 50 inmates now
accommodate up to 150 inmates. “For example, the Kirikiri Maximum
Security Prison in Lagos, built to accommodate 956 inmates, is now
occupied over 2,600 inmates,” the lawmaker said.
source: L.Ikeji

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