Ministries, Others Free 127 convicts from Abuja Prisons
The Ministry of Justice, the Federal Capital Territory and Chief Judge of the FCT have freed 127 Convicts from Abuja Prisons.
The Chief Judge of FCT visited the Kuje Medium Security Prisons in Abuja, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Stakeholders Committee on Prison Reform and Decongestion.
The committee was inaugurated by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), on October 31, 2017, upon an earlier directive by the Federal Executive Council, headed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
With the Chief Judge were representatives of Ministries of Justice, Interior and FCT.
Giving a breakdown of the number of the released 127 convicts, Justice Ishaq said 114 of them had their fines paid by the FCT minister while 10 others had theirs paid by the AGF.
He said Hajiya Najatu Muhmmad and Esther Uzoma of the Proactive Gender Initiative paid for one convict each.
In his goodwill message, the AGF noted that prison congestion “affects the quality of our justice delivery system and also impacts adversely on the human rights of inmates.”
He added, “This is why it becomes necessary to prioritise today’s exercise which will be replicated across various prisons in the country.
“The payment of fines for convicts with options of fines but unable to pay, kick-starts the process which will be replicated in prisons across the nation.
“A review of cases of inmates awaiting trial of upwards of five years will also be conducted across the prisons.”
He noted that Buhari had communicated to the various state governors “the need to review cases with a view to decongesting the prisons; he has further demonstrated keen interest by the recent release of over 500 prisoners during his visit to Kurmawa Prison in Kano on December 6, 2017.”
The Chief Judge stated that the FCT minister had committed to the establishment and construction of facilities with the Children and Young Family Court, the Bolster Institute as well as the Rehabilitation Centre in Abuja.
“With this facility, those who are sleeping under the bridge, afflicted by drugs and often used to commit crimes, can be rehabilitated and reintegrated into their families,” Jutice Ishaq said.
While responding to concerns of Esther Uzoma of Proactive Gender Initiative, Justice Ishaq said courts could not strike out criminal cases whenever prosecutors were absent from court as stipulated by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act because of what he termed “judicial tolerance.”
Speaking earlier, the Controller of Prisons, FCT Command, Sylvester Nwakuche, said the Kuje Prisons, established on August 14, 1989, housed 601 inmates out of whom only 222 were convicted and the rest were awaiting trial inmates.
He said of the convicted inmates, 25 were condemned, 14 lifers, two convicted for terrorism offences and 181 for other offences.
He said of the awaiting trial inmates, 69 were being prosecuted for terrorism offences, 65 drugs-related offences and125 capital offences.
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Report By: PRNigeria.com