Only The Less Privileged Go To Prison In Nigeria – Deputy Senate President, Ekweremadu
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu yesterday in Enugu, expressed dismay at the level of dilapidation of Nigerian prisons, stressing that only the poor and the weak mostly go to prison in Nigeria.
He however disclosed that the national assembly was presently working hard to remove Prison Service from exclusive legislative list to concurrent list in the on-going review of the 1999 constitution.
The lawmaker who made the disclosure while inaugurating the rehabilitated Medium Security Prison, Oji River borehole by a Christian organisation, Carmelite Prisoners Interest Organisation (CAPIO), said there was need to reform the nation’s prisons to ensure that it meets up with international standard.
“A point has been made here about the Prison Reform Bill; I’ll like to assure you that we are working assiduously to ensure that it is passed. But beyond that, in the constitutional amendment which I chair, I found it expedient to remove prisons from the exclusive list to the concurrent list because that’s where it should be. It has to be so because most of the people you find in prison are those who committed state offences, so prison is populated by mainly those who committed state offences, yet federal government bears responsibility and so it’s important that we have, in addition to federal prisons, we should also have state prisons”, he said.
While commending CAPIO for its good works to prisoners, he said that the highest level of humanitarian work was the one done for those who could not pay one back.
Ekweremadu announced personal donation of N1 million to assist Oji River Medium Security prison and a Hilux van to CAPIO to help the organisation in work of mercy.
“When I was a member of the senate committee on Internal Affairs, I had the singular privilege of touring all the prisons in this country and what I came out with is that its only the poor that are found in prison, the rich men are not in prison, not that they don’t commit offence but because the web is too weak for the strong and so they can always get out of trouble, only the weak are caught by such web of the law.
“That is why most of the prisons are dilapidated, that’s why they are falling apart, why they are collapsing because those that inhabit the prison are the weak in the society, they are the poor, the unfortunate and those that don’t have people to speak for them,” he said.
The comptroller of Prisons, Mr. Zakari Ohinoyi Ibrahim, represented by Asst comptroller general of Prisons in charge of Zone G: Edo, Delta, Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi states, Mr. Joseph Komolafe, expressed gratitude to CAPIO for rehabilitating the water borehole.
The executive directive of CAPIO, Rev. Fr. Ambrose Ekereku said the organisation’s mission was to protect the interest of prisoners in Nigeria through advocacy for a reformed judicial system.
His Honourable would like to stop generalised statements to appear popular with the people.
Tafa Balogun, Cecilia Ibru, Bode George, even our darling Actors Guild of Nigeria President Ibinabo Fiberesima all are former jail birds.
The point is, a rich person – anywhere in the world tends to get better legal representation when he commits a crime and can manipulate the system to get off the hock. It happens everywhere even in America and UK.
So true but deplorable.