The Delta State Controller of Prisons, Mr Sam Iyakorogha, yesterday, said that prisons congestion in the state might cause more problems for the inmates if urgent steps are not taken by authorities concern to ameliorate the situation.
The prisons’ boss who spoke to our reporter in Asaba during stakeholders workshop held by International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), said: “Out of 3, 507 inmates in the state, only 875 are convicts, while 2, 632 other inmates are awaiting trials. I want to call on the female lawyers to engage their expertise in the management of criminal justice, funding should not be limited to the judiciary, and the police but also the prisons”.
Noting that as a result of the congestion, inmates on daily basis suffer untold illnesses, the prisons’ boss appealed to the authorities to come to their aid and reform the prisons.
In his paper titled, “The ACJA (2015)/ACJL of Delta State 2017 Timelines; a mirage of reality,” a senior judge in the State Judiciary, Justice Edward Oritsejafor said that some of the challenges militating against effective implementation of the law include inadequate training for police personnel, and other relevant law enforcement agencies; lack of vehicles to transport defendants by the prison authorities to courts due to paucity of funds; congestion of courts; and poor facilities, among others.
In her welcome address, the chairperson of FIDA, Delta State, Mrs. Lauretta Omezi, said the workshop was the first in the three years partnership project with Mac-Arthur Foundation titled: “Enabling capacity for the adoption, and implementation of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) in selected states.” She added that ACJL ventilates and mitigates the harshness of the existing criminal laws, even as she commended its adoption in the state.
She said: “It is about restorative justice, it brings our laws to international standards, a legal document that protects the vulnerable, suspects, women, children, people of unsound minds, convicted persons.”
Similarly, director of Public Prosecution, the State Ministry of Justice, Mr. Ernest Edonwoji, said that the inability of the police to submit case files to the ministry for appropriate actions; funding for the transportation of prosecutors to remote areas; lack of medical reports to enable the DPP proffer legal advice on cases of suspects remanded; among others, are some of the hurdles to be addressed for the effective implementation of the ACJL.
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