NIGERIA: 1,639 CONDEMNED PRISONERS AWAIT DEATH, SAYS PRISONS BOSS
November 25, 2015: One thousand, six hundred and thirty-nine condemned inmates are awaiting execution in the nationâ€™s prisons, the Controller-General of Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS), Dr. Peter Ekpendu, said.
Ekpendu, who spoke while briefing the Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), on the activities of the service at its headquarters, gave the number of prisoners as 55,033.
He added that they includeÂ 19,374 convicted inmates and 45,659 awaiting trial inmates.
The controller-general did not give further information about the condemned prisoners.
Ekpendu regretted that Boko Haram activities claimed the lives of 45 NPS workers in the North.
He explained that the NPS has only 18 â€śBlack Mariaâ€ť trucks for transporting awaiting trial inmates to court, adding that the vehicles were grossly inadequate to meet the transport needs of the service.
His words: â€śThe prisons formations are presently holding 55,033 out of which 1,639 were condemned convicts awaiting execution. We have 18 Black Marias, 12 non-functional trucks, 16 functional and four non-functional ambulances, which are grossly inadequate to meet our transportation needs.
â€śThe smallest prisons should have at least an operational vehicle, ambulance and escort vehicles.
â€śWe have shortage of 15,432 staff. The congestion in prisons is more in prisons that are in urban areas than those that are in rural areas.
â€śWe have the challenge of violent extremism as a result of Boko Haram insurgence and we are working with the office of the NSA and the European Union (EU) among other stakeholders to de-radicalise the Boko Haram suspects in our prisons.â€ť
The controller-general called for increased funding for the prisons service, noting that the organisation owed contractors who have threatened to stop supplying food and gas to prison formations.
Dambazau, who acknowledged the challenges being faced by the service, admonished the management and personnel to make judicious use of budgetary allocations.
He expressed concern over congestion in prisons and promised to ensure the building of modern ones and completion of abandoned projects.
The minister cautioned the NPS against wastage, stressing that the Federal Government took accountability and financial prudence seriously. (Sources: thenationonlineng.net, 25/11/2015)