President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday called for urgent measures to be taken to decongest prisons across the country, even as he described the state of the nation’s prisons as a national scandal.
The president stated this when he hosted a delegation of the judicial arm of government led by the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen, at the Presidential Villa.
He said the call for decongestion is necessary not only in the interest of justice but to save the cost of prisons’ maintenance and boost the welfare of prisoners.
According to him, it was a national scandal that many prisons were overcrowded by 90 per cent.
His words: “We need a new approach to prison congestion. It is a national scandal that many prisons are overcrowded by 90 percent.”
“Urgent new measures should be put place to speedily decongest the prisons not only in the interest of justice but to save cost of prisons’ maintenance and welfare of prisoners.
“My attorney-general is advocating establishment of courts inside the prisons to speed up decongestion.”
On review of the conditions of service of the judicial staff, the president directed the office of the Attorney General of the federation to take up the issue with the Salary and Wages Commission with a view to advising him for prompt action.
He stated that his administration was not unmindful of the challenges facing the judiciary, saying that the increased budgetary allocation to the judiciary in the 2017 fiscal year would be sustained.
Buhari lamented that huge sums were being spent on security, especially in the North East and Niger Delta regions, instead of meaningful development, to better the lives of citizens.
He, however, expressed optimism that God would touch the minds of Nigerians to be patient with the government in its efforts to transform the nation’s economy.