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House of Reps Vows to  Pass Long Pending Prisons Reforms Law

From   Ignatius  Okpara, Enugu


(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Nigeria’s House of Representatives, has assured critical stakeholders in the nation’s criminal justice  system and the citizenry of its commitment in ensuring the passage of the bill on Nigerian Prisons Service Amendment Act into law, which has been pending for 17 years.

It said the amendments which cannot be overemphasised given the challenges bedeviling the Nigerian prisons system, is also aimed at addressing the issues through re-enactment of an act that will be in line with international best practices.

Speaking in Enugu during a 2- day retreat for the review of  the Nigerian Prisons Service Amendment Act put together for members of the House of Represetatives Committee  on interior by a non governmental organization NGO, Prisoners Rehabilitation And Welfare Action PRAWA, Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Jagaba Adams Jagaba, promised that they  would not rest on their oars until the bill is passed.

He  noted that the committee had in November 2017, held a public hearing on 8 bills referred to it, amongst  which “are the Nigerian Prisons service Amendment Acts.”

According to the chairman ,”Soon after the public hearing, the committee, went into intensive research and  extensive consultations with critical stakeholders for purposes of producing a document that would be comprehensive enough to address most, if not all the challenges inherent in the present prisons system .

Jagba, applauded  PRAWA for its role over the years in preaching the gospel of enthroning  globally accepted and 21st century criminal justice system in the Nigeria .

In a brief remark, Nigeria’s Controller General of prisons, Ahmed Ja a’faru, represented by Assistant Controller ACG Suraji Olariende , said the organization has been operating with outdated laws that has been  hindering it from performing effectively , urging the lawmakers to come out with an act that will strengthened its operation in line with international best practices

Also speaking at the event which has the financial support of the British Council,  of the United Kingdom, (UK) , Executive Director of PRAWA, Dr Mrs. Uju Agomoh, lamented the poor state of Nigerian prisons, born out of terrible  criminal justice system, which she noted, has made scores of Nigerian inmates to continue to languish in several prisoners without trial, even when  they are involved in minor offences.

While expressing the hope that the proposed bill when passed by the nation’s  National Assembly will remove all the cogs in the wheel of progress of prison management  in the country, she regretted that the bill has been lying for 17 years, saying “I think history is about being made by members of  the House of Representatives .

The PRAWA boss, appreciated all the critical stakeholders for their impressive  inputs since the amendment process began, urging them not to relent until the bill is finally passed into law.

Other major stakeholder  who equally stressed the need for the speedy passage of the all important bill during the event is Mr. Godwin Odo, the Component Manager, Justice  rule of law and Anti corruption (ROLAC), based in Abuja, the Nigeria’s capital.

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