By Francis Sardauna in Katsina
Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State Monday lamented the level of prison congestions in the country, especially the preponderance of awaiting trial inmates forming about 70 per cent of the inmates in most prisons across the country.
The governor, who frowned on the enormity of the problems created by prison congestion, noted that the restructuring of the prison system would address the challenges affecting the administration of prisons in the country especially in the areas of infrastructure and prisoner rehabilitation.
He disclosed this while addressing the participants of the 8th Advance Command Course, Batch ‘B’, led by the acting Assistant Controller General of Nigerian Prisons Service, Oluwayiopese Benson, at the Government House, Katsina.
Governor Masari reiterated that the deteriorating condition of prisons in the country has become an issue of major concern to many Nigerians, adding that any faulty prison system will adversely affect the service and the society as a whole.
“The conditions of our prisons today is worrisome. 70 per cent of the inmates are between the ages of 18 and 20. Most prisons across the country today are congested and it often creates friction among inmates and prison officials which sometimes results into violence.
“My administration would do everything humanly possible to avert the situation in the state through the renovation and provision of all the needed items that would address the menace,” the governor said.
He called for urgent reforms of the prison system so that prisons can achieve the role of reforming convicted prisoners before their re-entry into society.
According to the governor, it is impossible for prisons built decades ago when Nigeria’s population was much lower to cope with the rising number of inmates as a result of the increase in the national population and the high rate of crimes committed by the youths.
Earlier, the acting Assistant Controller of Nigeria Prisons Service, Benson, appealed to Masari to donate a 50-bedroom hotel accommodation and Hilux vans to the service to ensure the sustainability of its academy.
“Let it be placed on record that when this hostel is donated, it shall be dedicated to you and engraved in your name,” he said.