Nigeria’s Economic Council declares emergency on prisons service

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefile ;Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Minister of State Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed and Ag. President Yemi Osinbajo during National Economic Council Meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Thursday (29/06/17).

Nigeria’s National Economic Council, NEC, has declared state of emergency in the Nigeria Prison Service.

This was an outcome of the Seventy Eight NEC meeting presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday.

Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, South East Nigeria, who briefed State House Correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, said governors were urged to take some measures to decongest the prisons.

Umahi said the the Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdurahaman Dambazzau, briefed on the condition of the prisons inmates Nigeria.

“The situation painted by the Hon Minister of Interior and the CG of Prisons was quite pathetic and some of us gave graphic examples of what is happening in our prisons all through the states,” Umahi said, pointing out that what he saw when he visited the prison “was a very terrible situation that should not be allowed and that’s how it has been throughout the country in all the states.”

According to him, some governors have moved the prisons in their states from the urban areas to the hinterlands, while some are providing medical services, some are building new prisons.

He said the NEC considered all the submissions and came up with an agreement that the governors should assist the Federal Government in partnership to rehabilitate the prisons.

Umahi said “It was also agreed that the states that have capacity to build prisons should go ahead including private sector participation and of course the Hon. Minister made it very clear that over 70 per cent of inmates are awaiting trial and when we talk about private sector participation in terms of building prisons and may be converting some of the inmates for labour use, then such 70 per cent will not be available because they have not been tried and you have another 10 percent of criminals that have been convicted waiting to carry out whether dead sentences or committing them to life imprisonment.”

 He also said that plans were being made to engage some of the prisoners in agriculture.

He said the NEC stated the need for the Governor and Chief Judge of each state to visit the prisons regularly to perform their constitutional duties of jail delivery.

Umahi said the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, briefed the NEC on the SDGs.

Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State, North East Nigeria, also briefed correspondents on the state of Nigeria’s account.

He said the balance of the excess crude account stood at $2.3bn while the stabilization fund balance was N28.5bn.

The balance of the Natural Resource Development Fund and the Ecological Fund stood at N87.5bn and N28.9 respectively.