The Nigerian Prisons Service says Wednesday it is currently holding 56,785 inmates around the country with 38,734 of them awaiting trial.
The public relations/correctional officer, Nigerian Prisons, Ope Fatinikun, revealed this at a media chat organized by a non-governmental organization, 1-Nigeria Initiative.
He said as at June, the prisons collectively held 55,616 male inmates and 1,169 females’ inmates.
Mr. Fatinikun explained that only 17,474 men and 301 women were convicted, while 37,875 men and 868 women were awaiting trial.
He said there were 151 foreigners; 10 babies with their mothers; 947 young male offenders and 1,439 condemned inmates.
Mr. Fatinikun said part of the challenges the prisons faced were inadequate budgetary allocation to cater for various essential needs of the services.
“Our prisons need to be reconstructed as some of them are in deplorable states. The prisons need to be completed especially the ones where construction started over thirty years ago,” he said.
He said the prisons were congested with a large number of “awaiting trial” inmates and inadequate number of staff.
Mr. Fatinikun noted that, in view of the prevailing insecurity across Nigeria, there were not enough security weapons and gadgets required for operational use.
“Our facilities have been attacked and burnt down and a total of 46 prisons officers comprising 42 serving and four retired personnel have been killed since the inception of the (Boko Haram) insurgency,” he said.
He, however, said the inmates were being trained on modern agricultural technique, including cropping animal husbandry, fishery, poultry and piggery in farms spread across Nigeria.
Also speaking at the media chat, the head of media and publicity of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said there was a growing incidence of impersonation of the officials of the EFCC by fraudsters.
According to him, this had created an erroneous impression of corruption amongst officials of the agency by members of the public.
Mr. Uwujaren asked the public to be wary of invitation letters purportedly emanating from the agency with instructions to contact any supposed official through a GSM line.
“No authentic EFCC invitation letter will request anybody to contact an official by telephone, rather you are asked to report at an EFCC office to be interviewed by a designated officer,” he said.
He called on members of the public to report any suspicious invitation to the commissions department of internal affairs by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call, 09-9044752, 09-9044753 between 8a.m and 5p.m weekdays only.