Plans are underway for Nigeria to begin a prison swap programme with the United Kingdom, Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Umaru Dahiru, has said.
He said this yesterday in Kuje Prison, at the flag-off of 2012 prison audit by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Dahiru said funds for the programme, which the United Kingdom is willing to provide, would be used to renovate prisons so as to make the facilities habitable enough to accommodate inmates.
“We are also working on reviewing the prison act to allow states build and run their own prisons so as to reduce the burden on the federal government and decongest prisons,” he said.
Reacting to complaints made by inmates on the slow dispensation of justice and corruption in the judiciary, Dahiru expressed displeasure over the poor performance of judicial officers.
He said, “We have given them everything yet they don’t want to work. Last year we gave them N90 billion and this year N70 billion was given to them. We also increased the number of judges at the federal high court and appeals court. It is unfortunate that cases are still being delayed”.
On the issue of corruption, he said he would report to the Chief Justice of Nigeria so that judges who fail to dispense their duties properly are dealt with.
In his remarks, NHRC Executive Secretary, Prof. Bem Angwe, said the commission is taking measures to ensure that the rights of inmates are enforced.
On the slow dispensation of justice, he said the commission would begin to monitor trials so as to ensure delays are avoided.
A total of 401 inmates in Kuje Prison are awaiting trial and 99 have been convicted.