129 prisoners in Plateau jails are on death row - PRO

129 prisoners in Plateau jails are on death row - PRO
There are 129 prisoners on death row at the various detention facilities around the state, according to the Plateau Command of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS).

AS C The command's Public Relations Officer (PRO), Godfrey Longdiem, said this in a Sunday interview in Jos with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Longdiem claims that the number includes 128 men and one woman, and that 700 prisoners are awaiting trial at the state's different prison institutions.

In addition, there are 700 prisoners in our several prisons who are awaiting trial: 691 of them are men and 9 are women.

He went on to say that there were 192 people serving lengthy sentences and 55 people guilty of lesser offenses.

According to Longdiem, there are 49 people receiving life sentences, and none of them are minors.

Speaking with NAN in Jos as well, Mr. Steve Aluko, Executive Director of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), criticized the shortage of jail space and advocated for changes in the industry.

Aluko emphasized that a complete renovation of custodial facilities throughout Nigeria was desperately needed.

"This is in light of the worsening state of the nation's prison systems, which have seen a higher proportion of prisoners awaiting trial than those found guilty.

"There is no doubt that the Nigerian prison system needs immediate reforms to address the enduring issue of overcrowding and its detrimental effects on the health, welfare, and human rights of the prisoners," he stated.

In Taraba, on the other hand, stakeholders protested the large number of people detained in the centers and demanded the restoration of their human dignity, despite their claims that there were no death row convicts in the state's correctional facilities.

A lawyer named Malam Aminu Mohammed told NAN that the people convicted of capital crimes, like murder, were serving life sentences, which was the highest penalty, hence there were no death row inmates.

However, Mohammed said that this was a factor in the large prison population, particularly among those awaiting trial, rendering the Taraba correctional facilities unfit for human living.

In order to ensure there were more judges and magistrates and that cases were heard quickly in order to clear prisons of inmates, he urged for enhanced bench strength and judicial independence.

Nevertheless, the NAN correspondent's attempts to obtain confirmation from NCoS authorities in Jalingo that there were no death row detainees housed in Taraba detention centers were unsuccessful. Mrs. Ken Nnanna, the PRO, denied to comment, stating that she was not authorized to discuss the topic.

The Centre for Justice and Development's Executive Director, Mr. Raymond Ibrahim, an NGO, suggested that the electronic justice dispensation system was the solution after describing the centers as run-down, overcrowded, and lacking in places for human habitation.

Ibrahim claims that because the nation's legal system operates slowly, the majority of prisoners are awaiting trial.

"If the nation wants to succeed in justice administration, it is imperative that we keep up with the technological advancements that are driving the globe today.

"If the process becomes digital, it can address a situation where case files move from one court to another and sometimes get mixed up or missing due to years of prosecution," the speaker stated.

Ibrahim praised the few judges who had begun writing and delivering decisions electronically, but he also urged the government to back a complete shift from analog to digital justice administration in order to guarantee prompt and effective administration of justice and relieve pressure on penal facilities.

As part of efforts to decongest correctional facilities, attorney Mrs. Bridget Jonathan proposed using alternative dispute resolution procedures to avoid taking every case to court.

Thus, Jonathan implored the government to assist traditional leaders in bolstering the alternative dispute settlement processes inside their communities.

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