IN view of the incidence of jailbreaks in the country, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on the federal and state governments to embark on decongestion programmes for prisons.
It said a radical prison reform and pragmatic legal aid scheme should also be introduced.
MURIC, in a statement by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, expressed worry about regular jailbreaks in the country lately, describing them as a testimony to the porous nature of Nigerian prisons as well as the poor security arrangements in them.
“We lay the blame for the frequent jailbreaks squarely on the doorsteps of the Federal Government, Nigerian prison authorities and the country’s slow, unresponsive and archaic judicial system.
“A government that cannot accommodate prisoners and detainees or arrange speedy trials for those apprehended has no moral right to arrest more suspects. Our prison system merely serves the interest of crime rings and their leaders as it provides them easy access to fresh recruits. The onus is, therefore, on the Federal Government to rise to the occasion.
“We commend state governors and chief judges who have freed large numbers of awaiting trial prison inmates.
“We reiterate our earlier suggestion for the introduction of courts in prisons. Courts-in-prisons system enables government to build courts inside prisons, thereby bringing courts to those who need them most. This will eliminate logistic problems usually faced by prison authorities when attempting to arraign suspects.
“The Federal Government should improve prison conditions. More prisons should be built to accommodate enough inmates. The federal and state governments should enter into partnership with civil society to set up probe panels for investigating all cases of awaiting trial in the country,” MURIC’s statement read in part.