Prison Congestion: Metuh Rallies NASS, NBA, Correctional Service, Others to Stem Awaiting Trial Debacle

Prison Congestion: Metuh Rallies NASS, NBA, Correctional Service, Others to Stem Awaiting Trial Debacle

  • The executive director of Legend Golden Care Foundation has decried the harrowing situations for years for minor offence charges in Nigeria
  • Kanayo Olisa-Metuh has said many Nigerians are serving jail terms for offences they did not commit
  • According to Olisa-Metuh, the organisation's stakeholders' meeting is focused on creating more awareness and seeking further solutions to the challenges of awaiting trial and congestion in our prisons

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There is hope for over 53,000 awaiting trial inmates in Nigerian Correctional Centers as a human rights non-governmental organization, Legend Golden Care Foundation, has commenced a strategic concerted campaign with other stakeholders to address their plight.

Data from the Nigerian Correctional Service shows that out of the 76,189 inmates in Nigerian prisons, a staggering 53,710 (70%) are awaiting trial with many incarcerated in harrowing situations for years for minor offence charges.

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In furtherance of its campaign, the NGO organized a strategic stakeholders dialogue meeting on Awaiting Trial Syndrome with the Nigerian Correctional Service, the National Assembly, the Nigeria Bar Association, the Legal Aid Council, media and other stakeholders to seek further ways to tackle the challenge.

Kanayo Metuh, Nigerian Correctional Service, Abuja, Awaiting Trial Syndrome
Metuh said thousands of Nigerians facing minor offence charges are languishing in detention for years. Photo: Nnenna Ibeh
Source: UGC

Speaking at the opening of the meeting in Abuja on Thursday, September 22, the executive director of the LGCF, Kanayo Olisa-Metuh, lamented the “heartbreaking and helpless situation being faced by thousands of Nigerians awaiting trial in correctional centres across the country”

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Olisa-Metuh who stated that the organisation has been reaching out to prison inmates including the provision of provisions as well as pro-bono legal services bewailed that thousands of Nigerians facing minor offence charges are languishing in detention for years.

She lamented that such individuals “are serving jail terms for offences they did not commit, with many held for years exceeding the maximum terms for the crimes they were charged”.

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The executive director who commended the correctional service for its efforts, however, called for a concerted effort by all stakeholders to eliminate all bottlenecks and ensure a faster judicial process as a major step to checking to await trial debacle and congestion in our prison.

She narrated that the organisation become concerned about the plight of inmates in Nigerian Prisons while visiting her husband, former PDP spokesperson, Olisa Metuh, during his ten months of unjust incarceration in Kuje Correctional facility as a result of the later upturned biased judgment by Justice Okon Abang.

Her words:

“Legend Golden Care Foundation has been engaged in a lot of interventions to ameliorate the challenges being faced by Nigerians in our correctional centres.
"This dialogue meeting is aimed at further converging stakeholders to create more awareness and seek further solutions to the challenges of awaiting trial and congestion in our prisons.

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“That is why we have brought the government agencies, the National Assembly, the NBA and other stakeholders together today for this important dialogue on the plight of awaiting trial inmates in our prisons."

Delivering an address at the meeting, the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Reformatory Institution, Honourable Anayo Edwin expressed concern about the issues of overcrowding and lack of adequate facilities in correctional centres.

He commended the foundation for it is efforts and assured that 'the National Assembly is working hard to ensure adequate funding and oversight of correctional service in the country".

Speaking, the chairman House Committee on Judiciary, Honourable Onofiok Luke also advocated for accelerated judicial processes and adequate funding for the correctional service.

In his own submission, the Assistant Controller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Mustapha Iliyasu Attah, who represented the Controller General, noted that the challenge of awaiting trial mostly stems from the slow judicial process.

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He called for an acceleration of judicial processes as well as adequate funding of Correctional Services in the country.

In his remarks, the director of criminal Justice, Legal Aid Council Barrister Tunde Ikusagba pledged to support the Foundation by providing more pro-bono legal services to accelerate the judicial process related to the inmates.

The dialogue meeting later held a plenary session anchored by former minister of aviation, Osita Chidoka after which it presented a pledge of commitment geared to finding succour for awaiting trial inmates and the general wellbeing of inmates in our correctional facilities.

Metuh visits Suleja Correctional Facility, begins advocacy for decongestion, speedy court processes

A former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, on Thursday, November 25, visited the Suleja correctional facility.

Olisa Metuh was at the Suleja correctional facility alongside his wife, Kanayo, on an advocacy visit.

During the visit, Kanayo called for the decongestion of Nigeria's correctional facilities and speedy court processes for inmates awaiting trial.

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Nigerian students sent to prison without an option of fine

A High Court in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, on Wednesday, October 20, sentenced 19 students to six years imprisonment each for cultism.

The presiding judge, Justice Umar Fadawu, held that there was sufficient evidence proving that the students committed the offence.

The students were accused of conspiracy and management/membership of an unlawful society.


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