Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has advised the federal government, to, as a matter of urgency, consider relocating the Enugu Prisons from its present location at the city centre to a safer part of town.
He gave the advice yesterday during his visit to the Enugu Prisons in the company of the executive secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof Bem Angwe, the Senator representing Enugu North Senatorial District, Senator Chuka Utazi and other members of the commission.
The commission was in Enugu to inspect facilities in the prison to ascertain its condition and level of compliance with basic human rights.
While noting that at the time the prison was built in 1915, the present location was then regarded as the outskirts of the city, Ugwuanyi added that it has now become the city centre as a result of development and urbanization, thus making it unsafe and inconvenient for both the public and the prison officials.
He pointed out that the visit was timely in view of the recent spate of jailbreaks across the country, noting that it would “help provide insights into the immediate and remote causes of these incidents and also provide answers as to how such occurrences can be prevented in future”.
He insisted that it was expedient to decongest the prison given that it had gone far beyond its capacity, and lauded the officials of the Human Rights Commission on their goal to secure justice for inmates who have been on awaiting trial list longer than their offence would have attracted.
Angwe, had earlier in his remarks, praised the governor’s humanitarian inclinations, saying that “Some governors spend eight years without making a single visit to prison; but you have visited more than once,”
He disclosed that there were reports of inmates being incarcerated for 10 to 15 years while awaiting trial, adding that some died in prison without autopsy being conducted to ascertain the case of their deaths.
He pleaded with the governor to help ease the problem of decongestion by building additional blocks in the prison’s premises and thanked him for respecting the rights of citizens in the state.