BY JOY YESUFU, Abuja
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in collaboration with Ah-Muhibbah foundation has secured release for 15 inmates which comprises of 14 males and one female from the Suleja medium custodial centre.
While presenting the receipt for the payment of fines and release order to the officer in charge of the facility, the Chairperson of FIDA Abuja branch, Mrs Racheal Adejoh Andrew said the organization intends to decongest correctional facilities in the country as a way of minimizing spread of the deadly COVID-19.
She said though FIDA is biased towards issues that concern women, they are currently paying fines for 14 men as a way of supporting their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters.
According to her “Although we do not have so many women on the list of our beneficiaries but we do know that the society is made up of women and men and we know that for every man that is incarcerated there is a wife, a mother, probably a daughter and there are sisters. And in realization of that, that is why we are here this morning.
“Since there are no women that we can pay more fines, we paid fines for 14 men and one woman.”
In his response, officer in charge of the Suleja medium custodial centre, Abdulrahman Musa expressed appreciation to FIDA for their kind gesture of putting smiles on the faces of some of their inmates.
He said decongestion of the facility is a major challenge as the custodial centre which was originally meant to contain 250 inmates currently has about 761 in custody.
He said one of the major challenges they have is that release orders are not given by judges for some inmates who have both fines and compensations to pay, noting that inmates should not be held back because of compensation after paying their fines.
Musa said they cannot release any inmate with just receipt of fines adding that a release order which has the signature of the judge, the stamp testifying that he is aware and is a genuine order that should be honoured is the only document that can free an inmate.
High point of the event was the presentation of welfare items to female inmates and their young kids who are with their mothers while in incarceration.