NPS expresses confidence in new Criminal Justice System to tackle prison congestion

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Abuja  –  The Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) on Wednesday expressed confidence in the ability of the new Criminal Justice System to address prison congestion in the country.

The Spokesperson of the NPS, Mr Francis Enobore, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the issue of awaiting trial cases in the country’s prisons would soon be a thing of the past.

“The beauty of the present system is that there are a lot of provisions now that ensure that cases are quickly disposed off.

“What we used to experience in the past, where you had almost endless adjournments; those things are being restructured to make for quick dispensation of cases once they are brought to the court,’’ he said.

“So, if the provisions of the present criminal justice system are pursued to logical conclusion, the question of people staying in prison indefinitely will be adequately addressed,’’ he said.

Enobore, however, called on well meaning Nigerians and philanthropists to support the Federal Government in its efforts to improve the logistics for the NPS.

“It is one thing for a case to be called and it is another thing entirely for the prison to have the capacity to present all the prisoners to all the courts where there cases will be mentioned to be timely heard.

“Kuje prison, for example, does not have more than five functional vehicles to distribute prisoners across all the local governments in the FCT.

“Sometimes, the vehicles arrive with the inmates late to court or in some situations, the vehicle will not be sufficient to distribute the inmates at the same time.

“This is the same thing most prisons across the country are usually faced with; the issue of logistics,’’ he said.

The NPS spokesman stressed that the Service was still in need of support even though the federal government had taken up the issue and the Service had been assured of a better funding profile so as increase its fleet.

“We still need the support of stakeholders because often times you hear local, states governments and private individuals donating fleet of vehicles to arresting agencies, yet neglecting those providing custodian services.

“This is not supposed to be so as the arresting of these criminals is only a means to an end, it is only a step toward controlling crime. Where those arrested would be kept must also be seriously considered,’’ he said. (NAN)

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