Prisons Official Highlights How Lawyers Can Help In Decongestion
The issues of prison congestion in Nigeria is something that the Nigeria Prison Service (NPS) will want to end, but they know they cannot do it alone.
One group of persons the prison believes can help are lawyers.
In Anambra, the situation is not different from what it is in other prisons across Nigeria.
The 1,727 inmates in the prisons in Anambra is now a burden to the facility.
The prisons had overshot their carrying capacities by not less than 30 per cent, the Controller of Prisons in Anambra, Emma Nwakeze, said on Monday in Awka, the capital city.
Mr Nwakeze wants lawyers to help in prison decongestion by engaging in pro-bono advocacies for inmates.
Most of the inmates in Anambra prisons are on awaiting trial without access to judicial services.
Nwakeze said he had reached out to some branches of the Nigerian Bar Association in the state to take up some of the cases not just for the benefit of the inmates but as a requirement for the progression in the law profession.
The prison boss, who is also a lawyer had secured the approval of the Chief Judge of Anambra to conduct jail delivery in the four prisons under the command.
According to him, “the jail delivery sessions would hold in Onitsha on Dec. 5, Aguata on Dec 7, Nnewi on Dec. 12 and Awka on Dec. 14.
"Since I resumed in Awka, the issue of prisons decongestion has been primary to me.
"I have been meeting with the relevant stakeholders including the state governor on prerogative of mercy and the Chief Judge on jail delivery.
"I have also met with some branches of NBA on the need for lawyers to take up pro-bono cases, some of these inmates are on awaiting trial and they do not have access to legal services.
"I also discuss with them as colleagues, pro-bono matters are requirement for climbing up the legal profession ladder; by the time about 300 lawyers agree to do it, you can imagine what will happen to our prison population,’’ he told the News Agency of Nigeria.