The Enugu Command of the Nigerian Prisons Service has frowned at the increasing number of inmates awaiting trial in its prisons.
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Thursday, the command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Innocent Odezulu, disclosed that 95 per cent of inmates in its prisons were awaiting trial.
He lamented that the delay in the administration of justice was the root cause of the increase, adding that the prisons were at the receiving end of the delays.
``We are not happy at the increasing number of prisoners who are awaiting trial. It is bad because you cannot engage any awaiting trial inmate in any trade but you can engage a convicted inmate into one trade or the other.
``Engaging in trades like carpentry or tailoring will make them become better people by the time they live the prisons to the outside world. Prison is a place of reformation and should be regarded as one,’’ Odezulu said.
The prisons spokesman called on the police to work in collaboration with the judiciary to quicken the justice administration in the state.
On the National Open Universities (NOUN) programme offered to the inmates, the spokesman said that only 12 prisoners had successfully scaled through the prerequisite for admission into the school.
He said that the 12 inmates were offering law, peace and conflict resolution, criminology, Christian theology, mathematics and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Odezulu stressed that study materials and lack of internet connectivity were deterrents to the success of the inmates.
``We are calling on NGOs, churches and good spirited Nigerians to come and assist the prisons in paying the tuition fees of the students who are inmates. We want more inmates to enroll,’’ he said.