Why we can’t implement community service – FCT Chief Judge
The Chief Justice of the FCT High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello has identified the absence of funding for the nonimplementation of community service in criminal justice administration.
Justice Bello made this known during the visit of the delegation from a legal aid NGO, the Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE) in Abuja recently.
He said despite the provision for community service in lieu of prison sentence for some offences in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, there was no budgetary provision for the take-off of the programme.
He said the programme, which is part of global best practices to support prison decongestion, would require the establishment of community centres for documentation of offenders, recruitment of probation officers, and other logistics.
"We have taken steps for the provision of budgetary allocation to establish community centres and for witness' funds in this year's budget. But this is a transitional period in the new administration of criminal justice and there are bound to be teething problems" he said.
Earlier, the executive director of CURE, Sylvester Uhaa informed the Chief Judge that the NGO is committed to providing access to justice to many indigent inmates in Kuje, Suleja, and Keffi prisons and other parts of the country free of charge.
He said between 2014 and 2016, the NGO intervened and got the release of 20 awaiting trial inmates while 30 other cases are still being handled.
He appealed for urgent action to decongest Prisons across the country to arrest jail breaks, citing the Suleja prison, which was built with a capacity for 260 inmates, but now holding 440 inmates.