Nigerian Prisons Accommodate 68,259 Inmates in March 2017

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Iranian businessman and alleged Iranian Revolutionary Guard member Azim Aghajani (L) and Nigerian suspect Ali Abbas Jega (2nd L) sit on March 7, 2011 in a bus taking him to prison after a hearing at the Federal High Court in Lagos. Nigerian prosecutors on March 7 amended the charges against Aghajani and Jega on trial over a shipment of rockets, explosives and grenades seized in the West African nation. The new charges are similar to the old accusations, but provide more specifics on the types of weapons involved in the October 2010 seizure, naming bombs, grenades and rockets. They accuse the two suspects of illegally importing them and say the weapons were under their control. They are also accused of having falsely declared the 13 containers seized at a Lagos port as building materials. Both men pleaded not guilty to the new charges. AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
… Awaiting Trial Inmates Constitute 68% in Prison Population
…Prison Farms Revived for Self-Sufficiency In food production.
The Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) has disclosed that over 68,000 inmates are accommodated in the prison facilities through the country as at March 2017.
The Controller General of Nigerian Prison Service, Jaafaru Ahmed who made the disclosure in an interview with the Economic Confidential said that the agency has reopened prison farm centres towards self-sufficiency in food production.
Speaking on the current figure of the inmates, Ahmed said “As at March 6, 2017, total inmates population stands at 68,259. Out of this number, 46,351 are awaiting trial persons, and the remaining 21,903 are convicted. In terms of percentage, the convicted is 32 percent, while awaiting trial persons is 68 percent. Though the figures are not static as they go up and down.”
He also disclosed that the Prison Service had commenced the rehabilitation of its various farming centers with the purchase of twenty-two tractors that would lead the service to specialize in food productions enough to feed the inmates and for sale to the general public.
The prison boss said: “In 2016 budget we purchased so many farm machineries like tractors and other kinds of implements. We have also dug so many boreholes, fish-farming and the rest of them. These would be used to reposition our farm centers.
“What we intend to do when the budget for 2017 is passed is that we have picked three (3) out of fourteen farm centres. The idea is to make sure that we specialize in different farming processes. Like Kujama, we intend to set it up strictly for the production of maize. We want to see the production of maize all year round, not only during the raining season but also during the dry season. We have budgeted some amount of money to sink boreholes for irrigation purposes to ensure the success of these programmes.  We have picked Lampushi farm center strictly for rice production and the possibility of producing rice during both raining season and dry season. We have also taken Ozalla for the production of palm oil. These are three pilot projects we intend to do this year to see the possibility of whether the prison can actually feed itself,” he said.
He further said the Service is looking at mechanization. “We are looking at mechanization where the crops to be produced would be in large quantity both for self and sale outside. The process would reduce the manual labour and subsequently enhance production. The development will no doubt bring on board storage facilities when fully integrated so that all the areas will have comparative advantage.”
Speaking on the synergy existing among the three arms of the Criminal Justice system, Mr. Ahmed said that the Prison is the last bus-stop and only a custodian of all the parties namely, the judiciary cum the prosecution authority, which is the ministry of justice, the police and the prisons.
Ahmed noted that so long as anybody knocks on the door with valid warrant and appropriate papers, “we have no option but to receive such persons.”
He canvassed for a genuine collaboration among the three arms of the criminal justice system to enhance synergy so that the case of anybody brought to prison as awaiting trial will be determined as quickly as possible, stressing that other arms have to do their part so that there would be quick dispensation of justice.

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