The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), a human rights organisation, has called for the immediate decongestion of Nigerian Correctional Centres to check further spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Ikechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director of the group, made the call in a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday.
Nwanguma said that with the level at which the virus was spreading, the impact could be mitigated by decongesting correctional centres across the federation, including the police stations.
“At this perilous times, when humanity faces the threat of extermination by this novel virus, the impact can be mitigated by decongesting Nigerian correctional centres,’’ he said.
According to him, a proper audit will reveal that more than half of inmates of correctional centres ought not to be there in the first place.
He said that about 70 per cent of the inmates were persons awaiting trial, probably, for very minor offences or even no offence at all.
Nwanguma said that some of them might have been granted bail by a Magistrates’ Court but either didn’t know what to do or were unable to fulfil bail conditions.
He noted that it could also be that they could not afford legal representation.
According to the human rights activist, reports after reports every year by local and international organisations and governments, “reveal these facts, yet the problems persist’’.
Nwanguma said only one person affected by the virus could spread it to all inmates in any centre.
He, therefore, advised the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chief Judges of states to do the decongestion as a matter of urgency.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde/Adeleye Ajayi
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