Suspects stranded in Correctional facility in Niger for 14 years

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The Niger State Chief Judge, Justice Aliyu Mayaki expressed worry that suspects awaiting trial in correctional facility in the state have been stranded since 2006.

He made his feeling known on Monday when he visited old correctional centres in Minna.

The chief judge blamed congestion in Nigerian Correctional Centres across the state to the supremacy tussle between the judiciary and the legal departments of police formations.

This is coming barely forty eight hours after Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, through the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Nasara Dan-Mallam, announced pardon to 46 inmates to check spread of Corona Virus in the state.

Maiyaki also traced the problem to lackdue to lack of working synergy between Ministry of Justice and the legal department of Police in the state.

The Chief Judge,who noted that as the trend was becoming worrisome assured that any inmate therein without proper records or credible evidence against him/her would be set free.

Correctional facility, the Chief Judge said, should serve for the purpose indended, where offenders of the law should be transformed into becoming better citizens and to live a better life and not the contrary.

“It is regrettable that operation guidelines and working synergy between the Ministry of Justice and investigation departments of the Police Command have continually stagnated quick dispensation of justice for the inmates’ will.

“This should not be,”he said.

Dumping suspects in the custody for mere allegations of committing one offence or another will no longer be accepted.

“This therefore calls for attitudinal change by police authorities in the state to suit the federal government’s policy on correctional centres”.

Our correspondent, however, gathered that as at the time of the Chief Judge’s visit; 263 inmates are currently on awaiting trial list, 92 convicted while it was also discovered that some of the inmates have been on awaiting trial list for over six years.

The Chief Judge, who was visibly disturbed by what he saw however urged the Ministry of Justice to formally request for urgent attention on the issue.

He said this was necessary to ensure that cases were appropriately heard under conducive environment, for justice and fairness to end overcrowding.

Also, the Director Public Prosecution (DPP), Barrister Moses Chiroma who was on hand to receive the Chief Judge decried non release of overheads to the ministry to enable it carryout some statutory functions.

Nigeria Correctional Centre, formerly Nigeria Prison Services, he said was service oriented but unfortunately had been faced with paucity of funds.

He also identified denial of funds with which to carry out some statutory functions effectively especially in cases of transfers and other mandates as part of the problem.

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