The Nigeria Prisons Service was hopeful that by now the decongestion of prisons around the country would have started after the Nigerian government approved 3.5 billion Naira for the purchase of 320 operational vehicles for the service, but that is not happening.

At the meeting of the Federal Executive Council on October 5, 2016, the council approved the funds after an official of the Ilesa Prison in Osun State said 454 out of 582 inmates were awaiting trial.

The officer in charge of the Osun Prisons at that time, Deputy Comptroller Ope Fanimikun, said that presenting 454 inmates for trial in 72 courts was a huge challenge for officers.

In different other prisons around the nation, the situation is the same.

No Official Vehicle Still

Eight months after that fund was approved for the purchase of the vehicles, the Benue Command of the Nigeria Prisons Service, is still appealing to the Federal Government for operational vehicles to enhance its effectiveness in conveying inmates to courts.

The State Comptroller of Prisons, Mr Peter Pevigo told the News Agency of Nigeria in Makurdi that the command had no single official vehicle for the movement of inmates.

Suspects on trial are now being conveyed to courts with all kinds of buses, including ambulances, a situation that could be of huge risk to suspects and even prisons officials.

Pevigo explained that the command had no option but to improvise, by exploring alternative means of conveying inmates to court to avoid any breakdown of law and order in the prisons.

“We do not have any Black Maria, the official car for the movement of inmates from one place to the other, so we have to improvise alternative means of solving the problem.

“This is a very sensitive issue, because if we fail to take inmates to court at the appropriate time, they may cause havoc or cause any unlawful thing within prisons yards,” he stressed.