As the world celebrates Mandela Day, Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants, CURE-Nigeria, throug it’s Executive Director, Mr. Sylvester Uhaa, has accused the Federal Government of paying lip service to prison congestion in Nigeria.
It is extremely sad that prison congestion, which is caused by the excessive reliance on incarceration, abuse of power, corruption, and blatant disrespect for the rule of law and human rights of suspects, has never received the desired attention in the history of Nigeria.This is so because most of the prisoners are poor and marginalized people, and Nigeria does not care for its poor population. If rich and powerful people were in prison in Nigeria, the case would be different.
We thought that Mr. President’s public acknowledgment that prison congestion is a national scandal and the subsequent statement by the Vice President that Nigerian prisons turn inmates into animals, would lead to concrete and tangible actions to solve the problem, but all we saw was the release of handful people across the country and everything ended. This is not enough to address the huge awaiting trial population of prisoners, who are subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and have poor access to lawyers, good nutrition, portable water, medical and health care, education and other rehabilitation programs, and lack basic needs they are entitled to under international law.
Above all, 70% of the prison population is awaiting trial for long periods. Although prolonged pretrial detention is unarguably, one of the greatest forms of injustice and human rights violations in Nigeria, it is often ignored because most of the victims of pretrial detention are poor and marginalized people.
As we mark Mandela Day, we call on the Federal and state governments to release those who have spent years awaiting trial, especially those accused of non-violent offences, grant amnesty to death row inmates, particularly those who are weak, terminally-ill and are too old to pose danger to their communities, commute all death sentences to life imprisonment with a possibility of parole and put in place mechanisms to prevent prolonged pre-trial detention.
In addition, we ask the Federal and state governments to ensure that juveniles in conflict with the law are not sent to adult prisons and not tried as adults. Furthermore, we recommend the use of alternatives to incarceration for all non-violent female offenders, particularly nursing mothers and pregnant women, as well as the transfer to mental hospitals, the huge number of all mentally-ill persons in prisons and other detention facilities across the country for medical attention, as these people are not supposed to be in prison.
Finally, we ask the Federal Government to place emphasis on crime prevention, through aggressive investment in education, job creation,peace-building, rebuilding our infrastructure and social protection programs to reduce poverty, rather than focusing on expanding our law enforcement and procuring guns and ammunition, as experience has shown thatsimply expanding law enforcement and procuring more guns without addressing the root causes of crime cannot guarantee security of lives and properties.
Letter to the National Human Rights Commission to Investigate the Alleged Violation of the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Involving Garki Hospital and Miss Linda Igwetu
CURE-Nigeria has written the National Human Rights Commission to Investigate the alleged violation of the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act, 2017 involving the corp member killed in Abuja and Garki hospital …..Read More
Letter to the Commissioner of Police FCT to Investigate the Alleged Violation of the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act, 2017
CURE-Nigeria had in a letter commended the Nigeria Police for the seriousness with which the FCT command addressed the Alleged killing of a corps member, Miss Linda Igwetu in Abuja while urging the command to investigate the alleged violation of the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshots Act, 2017. Read More
Letter to the Minister of Health on the Need to Include Prisons and Other Detention Centres in the National Survey on HIV/AIDS an Hepatitis B and C
CURE-Nigeria had in a letter, commended the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Agency for the Control of Aids, USAIDS and other development partners for the initiative to conduct a survey on HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis B and C. However, we are deeply concerned over the seeming exclusion of people in prison and other detention centres … Read More
Petition to House Committee on Health Services to Visit Prisons and Assess Inmate’s Access to Health and Medical Services
CURE-Nigeria has written to the House Committee on Health Services to work on the mandate given to it by the House of Representatives to visit prisons to assess inmates’ access to health and medical care.
CURE-Nigeria has written to the House Committee on Interior to work on the mandate given to it by the House of Representatives to visit prisons to assess inmates’ access to health and medical care.
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A Petition to the FCT Commissioner of Police Over the Continuous Detention of Inmates in Keffi Prison Without Arraignment
CURE-Nigeria has petitioned the Commissioner of Police FCT over the continuous detention of more than thirty inmates without arraignment/trial at the Medium Security Prison, Keffi.
Click Here to read the petition
Petition to the NHRC to Make Public its Findings on the Alleged Killing of Inmates in Abakaliki Prison
CURE-Nigeria has written the National Human Rights Commission to make public, the findings of its investigation into the alleged killing of six inmates and injuring of another ten in Abakaliki prison in August 2016.
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CURE-Nigeria Requests the Interior Minister to Investigate the Death of 32 Inmates in a Prison in Lagos
Following the chilling and shocking disclosure of the death of 32 inmates in a Lagos prison in a year by the State Controller of Prisons, Mr. Olumide Tinuoye due to lack of access to medical care, as reported in the media, CURE-Nigeria writes… Click Here for full details of the letter.