Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
The Nigeria Correctional Services, Ebonyi State, has raised the alarm over congestion of its Abakaliki centre, saying it was currently housing over 1,213 inmates against its original capacity of 387.
Controller of the state command, Mrs Emelia Oputa, made the disclosure in Abakaliki during a visit to her office by the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ebonyi chapter.
Oputa disclosed that the congestion was caused by lack of speedy trials, inmates’ lack of legal representation and lack of prompt prosecution of offenders among other hindrances.
According to her, such unpleasant development could cause jail break.
She stated that the command would soon stop taking more inmates if nothing was done to address the development.
“We are not happy that a correctional service centre in Abakaliki with the capacity of 387 is harbouring 1,213 inmates currently.
“Such issue gives rise to jail break because of congestion. There are inmates that have stayed for two years now, no complaints.
“Some are those accused of being in opposition parties and were since dumped after the 2019 general election. We will stop taking inmates, if nothing is done to decongest the centre,” Oputa said.
She disclosed that the centre had been receiving efforts to decongest the prison but needed more assistance and support from relevant authorities to make sure those who should not be there were released.
Oputa further called on the Judiciary, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ministry of Justice and the police for collective work in achieving the recommended capacity of inmates and enhancing speedy dispensation of justice.
She, however, called for regular meeting with the organization to address the challenges. Leader of the delegation and FIDA chairperson, Grace Chima, assured of commitment of her group to collaborate with the Service to ensure speedy dispensation of justice.