The Delta State Command of the Nigerian Prisons Service on Thursday lamented over the deplorable conditions of prison facilities and lack of operational vehicles to convey inmates to Court.
It therefore called on the state government to immediately come to its aid.
The State Controller of Prisons, Mr Sam Iyakoregha, who made this appeal when he paid a courtesy visit on the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Peter Mrakpor in his Chambers, said, “I have come to appeal to you to help pass our present predicament to the state government because your office is closer to the governor, please help there are no facilities at the Delta state command of the Nigeria prisons”.
Iyakoregha, while decrying the deplorable facilities in all the prison formations in Delta, made a startling revelation that the Warri medium security prisons that was designed and built to accommodate 307 inmates now accommodates over 1500 inmates who sleep under deplorable and inhuman conditions.
He pointed out that one of the reasons inmates are said to be hardened upon their release back to society was due to prison conditions.
The state controller of Prisons 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 however 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, 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-led administration.
Mrakpor, who assured that names of the Chairman and Members of the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy will soon be announced by the State Governor as part of measures to decongest the prison, stated that 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 being prosecuted and held in prison unjustly.
The Justice Commissioner, who expressed worries over the high number of young persons imprisoned over cases of cultism, assured the controller of Prisons of the continued support of the Delta state government.
While speaking , the prison boss said “the situation at the Delta state prisons is sad, no facilities, all the facilities are broken down, 1500 inmates currently sleep in deplorable floor, premises stinks of offensive odour.
We need help. On my assumption in office, I found decay of facilities, no vehicles, no logistics, nothing. The situation at this command is an eye sore, it needs a total overhauling of the facilities, especially where the inmates sleep, it is terrible”