722 Out Of 858 Inmates In Benue Prison Are Awaiting Trial
The persistent problem of prison congestion seems to have come to stay in Nigeria.
It is a sign that the sector needs far-reaching reforms to decongest these prisons and make things work as they should.
Benue State Prison is one case to worry about, as 90% of inmates there are awaiting trial.
At the moment, the prison has 858 inmates, but out of this figure, only 86 are convicts.
One of the reasons the prison is having that figure, according to the State Controller of Prisons, Mr Peter Pevigo, is lack of vehicle to convey inmates to courts.
“At the moment, we have 858 inmates out of which only 86 are convicts.
“It is incumbent on us to take 772 inmates awaiting trial to court as at when due, that is why we are using our discretion to solve the issue.” he said.
The controller explained that the command had officially communicated to relevant authorities about their condition and expressed the hope that the situation would be addressed soon.
He commended prison warders under the command for their hard work and dedication to duty, and ensuring peaceful coexistence at all times.
There have been allegations of misappropriation of inmates’ food, but Mr Pevigo said there had been no such complaint in the stat.
He, however, warned that anyone caught misappropriating inmates’ food would be dealt with severely.
He explained that inmates had representatives in the store where their food were weighed and shared.
“You can’t touch inmates’ food and have peaceful prison yard, they would react because food is their right,” he added.
The government in October last year had showed concern for issues of more inmates being in prisons than convicts and had approved 3.5 billion Naira for purchase of vehicles for conveying of suspects to courts.
But 7 months after that approval, Benue Prison still lacks a vehicle. The prisons division still hire buses or ambulances to convey inmates to courts.