The Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Umaru Dahiru, has expressed the readiness of the National Assembly to partner with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and all the relevant stakeholders to improve the condition of the Nigerian prisons.
Senator Dahiru, who was speaking at the flag-off of the 2012 Prison Audit by the NHRC at the Kuje Prison, noted that in spite of efforts made to improve the condition of the Nigerian prisons, a lot still needs to be done to bring Nigerian Prisons to internationally acceptable standards. Accordingly, he said the National Assembly is working conscientiously to pass the Prison Reform Bill to make the Nigerian Prison conform with the minimum international standards.
“We shall work with the National Human Rights Commission and other stakeholders to ensure that the Nigerian Prisons are fully equipped to serve as correctional institutions”, he said.
In his speech, the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, noted that the NHRC is determined to protect and enforce the rights of Prison inmates in addition to ensuring that they live under habitable conditions.
The Commission, he disclosed, will in the next few weeks, embark on audit of all the Nigerian Prisons to determine the state of the structures and the condition of the inmates. He promised to make appropriate recommendations to the Federal Government at the end of the exercise.
In her speech, the Chairperson, House Committee on Human Rights, Hon. Beni Lar, commended the effort of the NHRC in the reform process of the Nigerian Prisons. She said her committee will collaborate with the NHRC to carry out a detailed audit of the Nigeria Prisons.
The Hon. Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, represented by the Director of Paramilitary, Keftin Amuga, noted that the plight of the Nigerian Prison inmates is a matter of concern to the Federal Government.
The Minister stated that the biggest challenge facing the Nigerian prisons today is congestion, adding that majority of the prison inmates are pre-trial detainees.
As part of the transformation agenda of the present administration, the Minister disclosed that the Nigerian Prisons are being remodelled to bring them at par with modern trends in correctional facilities. He commended the National Human Rights Commission for her immense contribution to the prison reform in the country calling on the staff to embark on the exercise more regularly.
He promised that the outcome of the prison audit will be implemented by the federal government.