The controller of Nigerian Prisons Service, Nasarawa State Command, Mr. Ekwere Ekanem, has said that 1143 persons who are remanded in various prisons across the state are still awaiting trial.
Ekanem, stated this on Monday in Lafia said the total population of prison inmates in Nasarawa state is 1663 with just 520 convicted and 1143 still awaiting trial in various prisons across the state.
“This number of inmates awaiting trial is spread across the six prisons in the state which are Umaisha in Toto local government, Nasarawa, two prisons in Keffi Zone, Wamba and Lafia,” He said.
Ekanem described the high population of awaiting inmates as worrisome and solicited for support in sensitising stakeholders and the general public on the need to help speed up the decongestion of prison facilities.
“It is not the fault of the prisoners but the fault of the system. We will appreciate any any help from anywhere because government alone cannot do it. It is time for all stakeholders to be actively involved in reforming the prison system in the country,” he added.
Ekanem also revealed that though the capacity of prisons in the state is 893, all the prisons have over shot their capacity due to the large number of inmates awaiting trial thereby negatively affecting the limited rehabilitation needs meant for 893 prisoners.
“Those who are convicted are the ones we are supposed to train, impact skill, knowledge on them but right now we are just managing to cope with the huge number so they don’t escape or cause problem on a daily basis,” He said.
He also appealed to the Nasarawa state government to domesticate the Criminal Justice Act that was signed into law in 2015 so as to help the prison service and reduce the prison population in the state.
“States like Lagos, Ekiti and Anambra have already domesticated the act with the exception of Nasarawa state. If it is implemented, it will go a long way in addressing the work of the prisons. All this prolong stay in the prison will not be tolerated,” he added.