The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) has disclosed that out of over 80,000 inmates in their centres, 5,000 that are supposed to die by hanging are still occupying spaces because state Governors are not signing the death warrant.
The service also disclosed that 50,000 of the total inmates in their custody are awaiting trials, making their centres congested.
The controller-general of the Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa, stated this at the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) access to justice parley and the launch of the “Court Administration and Case Management and The Reforming Pre-trial Detention in Nigeria Phase II Projects”.
Represented by Gimba Manu, an assistant controller general in charge of correctional service, the CG said the prisons are congested adding that they welcome every effort aimed at decongesting the correctional centres.
He stated: “As of today, we have about 80, 20 inmates. 50,000 are awaiting trial while about 5,000 are for death sentences. We are happy because you are discussing congestion. We see about 20 inmates being hosted in a room instead of 5. Access to justice is still a problem. We are happy because you people are here to reduce congestion.
“We are happy with PPDC because they will be providing legal support to 1,700 detainees per year. If this can be done, which I know it will be done, our correctional centres that are highly congested will now be freed.
“Somebody who is sentenced to death by hanging, some have stayed for 10 years, 15 years and even 20 years in custody while their death sentence has not been signed by the governors.”
He called on stakeholders from the respective states to use their attorneys general to influence their state governors to ensure that those inmates who have been sentenced to death by hanging get their sentences commutes to imprisonment.
This, he said, is expedient so that those that have spent the years of sentence could be released.
“We are pleading with you so that the respective governors who are not interested in signing the death warrant will commute the sentence to imprisonment.