The Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) yesterdayin Abuja, appealed to the judiciary to speed up hearing of cases to reduce the number of persons awaiting trial in prisons.
Malam Kabir Funtua, the Deputy Controller of Prisons in charge of Prison in Kuje area council of the FCT, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Funtua said that prisons were overflowing with people awaiting trial, pointing out that convicted inmates were in the minority.
He said: “In Kuje Prison, we have 598 inmates out of which 505 are awaiting trial.
“The problem is with the courts; they ask us to keep the inmates and we cannot refuse.
“If the judiciary will speed up their trial, we will have less inmates in our prisons and the problem of congestion will not be there.”
The DCP said that Kuje Prison had capacity for 555 inmates but was now accommodating 598 inmates.
He, however, said the inmates were fully occupied as they were being taught various trades that would aid their rehabilitation on discharge.
He explained:“ We have workshops for carpentry, tailoring, laundry, block molding and soap making industry in the prison premises.
“The inmates are fully occupied with learning these trades while they are here because we have discovered that it will be of great help in their after-care service and rehabilitation.
“In our after-care service, when an inmate is discharged, he is given some tools to start the trade learnt in the prison.
“We supervise them for two years to ensure that they are stablised before we eventually leave them to themselves.”
According to him, some NGOs, especially the Catholic Church, have been of great help in the after-care service.
“ The church donates sewing machines and some other materials, which we give to inmates to start their businesses when they are discharged,” he added. (NAN)