The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on Thursday described as injustice the practice of keeping awaiting trial inmates on minor offences in the prison for too long.
Mr. El-Rufai stated this when he paid his maiden official visit to the Kaduna Convict Prison.
He said his administration will improve the skill and vocational training within and outside the prison to create job and reduce the rate of crimes.
According to the governor, his visit to the prison was informed by the regular briefing by the state controller of prison and a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari to all governors to look into ways of decongesting the prisons.
Mr. El-Rufai after touring the congested prison said he would work together with the prison authority to elevate the state of facilities within the prison.
“We are particularly interested in improving the state of training and vocational facilities within the prisons and expand that to outside the prison,” he said. “We believe acquisition of skills is very important, not only to create job but also to reduce the rate of crime. It is injustice for a person to be kept for a long time in the prison on a minor offence and awaiting trial.”
He said following the presidential directive, the state executive will work closely with the judiciary to decongest the prisons.
Earlier in his welcome address, the state prisons controller, Abubakar Garba, told Mr. El-Rufai that Kaduna Convict Prison was established in 1915 with capacity for 547 inmates.
He, however, noted that the prison presently houses over 1,000 inmates including 114 condemned criminals with 11 of them including a female from Kaduna State.
Aside the required attention of training of inmates, the prison controller also solicited the assistance of the state government in the area of logistics. He said the prison has only two functional ‘Green Marias’, while two were grounded.
The chief judge of Kaduna State who was also in the governor’s entourage to the prison however gave assurance that the judiciary will cooperate with the state executive to actualise its objectives.
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