The Senate has offered to come to the rescue of inmates in the Kuje and Suleja prisons who are unable to pay the fines imposed on them by the courts as part of its intervention in the decongestion of the facilities.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary on Tuesday, therefore, mandated its Committee on Interior to visit the Kuje and Suleja prisons to determine “those fined but unable to pay, for possible intervention by the Senate.”
The Senate also urged the Federal Government to build more prisons and renovate the existing ones.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly took the decision following a motion moved by Senator Samuel Anyanwu (Imo-East) titled ‘Urgent Need to Decongest the Nigerian Prisons.’
The Senate resolved to urge the Chief Justice of the Federation, the state Chief Judges and the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Prisons Service “to immediately conduct an exercise into the records of inmates in the Nigerian prisons to ascertain, identify and review the cases of inmates under the awaiting trial list who have been dumped in the prison custody without due and diligent prosecution of their cases beyond the period provided for in the constitution for the purpose of granting them freedom.”
The lawmakers also “urge the Attorney General of the Federation and Chief Judges of the states to exercise their constitutional right by setting free inmates whose trials have lingered or discontinued for lack of evidence or follow up by the prosecutor.”
The Senate also “urge the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation and the state governors to exercise their power of prerogative of mercy by decongesting the prisons of inmates whose detention are manifestly unlawful and those who have been in detention for period longer than they would have served if convicted for the alleged offences they are charged for in order to save our prisons from becoming a breeding ground for epidemic.”