The Delta State Command of the Nigerian Prisons Service has made a passionate appeal to the Delta State Government to immediately come to its aid as it is faced with multiple challenges of deplorable conditions of prison facilities and lack of operational vehicles to convey inmates to Court.
The New State Controller of Prisons, Mr Sam Iyakoregha made the appeal when he paid a courtesy visit on the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Peter Mrakpor in his Chambers on Tuesday.
Mr. Sam Iyakoregha while lamenting the deplorable facilities in all the prison formations in the State, made a startling revelation that the Warri Medium and Security Prisons that was designed and built to accommodate 307 inmates now accommodates well over 1500 inmates who sleep under deplorable and inhuman condition. He said that one of the reasons why inmates are said to be hardened upon their release back to society was due to prison conditions.
The State Controller of Prison also stated that inmates at the Kwale and Sapele Prisons are conveyed to Court for trial with private vehicles with its attendant security risk as a result of lack of operational vehicles in the aforementioned formations. He commended the Delta State Government for supporting the Command with operational vehicles in the past and solicited for continued support.
The Prison boss while calling on the State Government to accelerate the process of domesticating the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) which he said has several radical provisions meant to fast track justice delivery, made an appeal for the appointment of the Chairman and members of the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy to enable them perform their statutory duties of advising the Governor to grant amnesty to some deserving inmates as a means of decongesting the prisons.
The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Peter Mrakpor while welcoming the new Prison boss to Delta State commended the Prison Authority for playing an important role in the State Justice Reform Committee set up by the Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration.
Mr. Mrakpor who said names of the Chairman and Members of the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy will soon be announced by the State Governor said as part of measures to decongest the prison, fiat from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation has been secured to enable the State Government commence the prosecution of cases of inmates in prison custody who committed federal offences.
He said his office will not hesitate to enter a Nolle Prosequi against any accused person currently undergoing criminal trial if it is found out that such cases ought not to have been in court in the first instance. He disclosed that the Ministry of Justice under his watch has started reviewing all criminal case files prosecuted by the Ministry to ensure that no one is been prosecuted and held in prison custody unjustly.
The Justice Commissioner, who expressed worries over the high number of young persons in prison custody over cases of cultism, assured the Controller of Prison of the continued support of the Delta State Government.