GROUP RELEASES 8 KIRIKIRI INMATES, SAYS WE SHOULD JOIN HANDS TO DECONGEST OUR PRISONS
By Theresa Igata
A group has called for more support from well-meaning Nigerians to help decongest our prisons.The group, Justice Development and Peace Centre made the call on Monday when it visited the Kirikiri medium prisons to secure the release of some inmates.
Speaking after the release of the prisoners who were convicted for wandering and street trading, the Festac Deanery Co-ordinator of the group, Mr. Onyema Onyenankeya said, “The release of these 8 prisoners today is part of the centre’s efforts at decongesting our prisons. We would have loved to release more of them but we do not have the capacity to do that.”
“We try as much as possible to make sure they go back to their respective homes and then we empower them when we have any of our empowerment programmes. All these require funding”, he said.
“We were told that some people still come on their own to also help release some prisoners. This is what we’re talking about. The person there doesn’t have to be your relative or someone you know before you help such person(s) regain their freedom”.
Onyema added that with the state of the prison facilities and the fact that a facility built to cater for 1,700 inmates now has over 3,600 is cause for worry.
“As at when we visited the prisons, we were told that there were 3,603 inmates out of which 3,080 were awaiting trial and 523 already convicted. We do not know those we secured their release, they’re not related to any one of us but we believe that in doing this we’re helping them secure a better future because they have committed lesser crimes, though it is crime against the state,” he said.
In dismay he noted that even as some prisoners were being released, more were being brought in. “This shows there’s a serious problem that we need to deal with. We must have to continuously decongest these prisons and provide better lives for our teeming youth”.
He however asked that the government do well to upgrade its prison facilities, while also admonishing the released prisoners to desist from all forms of crimes and to at all-times obey the laws of the state.