The Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LAC) has called for speedy dispensation of cases involving inmates on awaiting trial to address prison congestion.

Mr Aliyu Abubakar, LAC’s Director-General made the call on Monday in Abuja while speaking with newsmen.

He said that the delay in the dispensation of criminal cases hugely contributed to the overcrowding of the prisons.

“Prisons as public correctional institutions are established by government to keep suspects and convicts, but the poor management in trial of inmates has led to overcrowding.

“Prison overcrowding is a social phenomenon that can occur when the demand for space in prisons in a jurisdiction exceeds the capacity of such facility,” he said.

Abubakar further said that the issue of congested prisons facilities across the nation could be resolved with speedy justice system.

“Prison congestion has become a serious problem, some inmates are only there because they can not meet bail conditions.

“ A large percentage of them are also there for no reason of their own but because of system inadequacies,” he said.

The LAC DG expressed worries that underage persons were being detained in some prison facilities in the country.

“This ought not be so, there should be detention centres to accommodate underage offenders to prevent them from mixing up with hardened prisoners.

Abubakar decried the level of infrastructure decay in some prison cells across the country, saying: “this is part of the reason many inmates awaiting trials languish in prison”

“It is sad that our investigative authorities lack the necessary capacity, it is a good practice to investigate matters before arresting suspects.

“What we mostly see here is arrest and detention before investigation, this is not very good, but it can be made better,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that LAC seeks to promote equal access to justice and the protection of constitutional rights for all.