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Buhari tasks judges on prison decongestion

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met with a delegation of Nigerian Justices of the Supreme Court, where he urged them to adopt a new approach to hasten the decongestion of prisons in Nigeria.

The justices were led into the meeting by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.

Buhari, who noted that the prisons in the country were overcrowded by up to 90 percent, said the congestion of prisons across the country is a national scandal that must be addressed immediately through a new approach, to save the country form further embarrassment.

Buhari, said there were problems of transporting inmates from prisons to courts, said the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, was advocating that courts be set up inside prisons to fast track decongestion.

“We need a new approach to prisons decongestion. It is a national scandal that many prisons are overcrowded by up to 90 percent.

“Urgent new measures should be put in place to speedily decongest prisons not only in the interest of justice but to save cost for prisons maintenance and enhance the welfare of prisoners.

“My Attorney General is advocating establishment of courts inside the prisons to speed up decongestion. The logistical problem of transporting prisoners from prisons to courts means a difficult period for suspected detainees. This is really bad” he lamented.

He said government decided to increase the budget of the Judiciary, in view of the role it plays and would sustain that to improve the dispensation of justice.

 

He said he was mindful of the daunting challenges faced by the judiciary in the areas of infrastructure and funding hence its decision to increase the judiciary budget in the 2017 fiscal year which his administration is committed to sustain.

He said: “We are not unmindful of the daunting challenges faced by the judiciary in the areas of infrastructure and funding. This informed our decision to increase the judiciary’s budget in the 2017 fiscal year which we are committed to sustain. I have asked the Attorney General to take up this matter with the salaries and wages commission for advice to the President.”

President Buhari lamented that huge sums were being spent on security, especially in the North-East and Niger-Delta regions, instead of meaningful development, to better the lives of citizens.