Buhari: Prison congestion a national scandal
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday described congestion in Nigeria’s prisons as a national scandal, noting that many of the prisons were overcrowded by up to 90 percent.
Speaking while receiving a delegation of justices of the Supreme Court and Appeal Court as well as heads of other judicial organs at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja, Buhari stressed the need for a new approach to prison decongestion.
The delegation led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, visited the president to welcome him from his recent medical vacation to the United Kingdom.
The president said urgent measures should be taken to speedily decongest the prisons in order to ensure justice and save cost of maintenance and welfare of inmates.
Buhari, who noted the problem of transporting inmates from prisons to courts, said the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, was advocating that courts be set up inside prisons to fast-track decongestion.
The president said if he disclosed the amount of money spent on northeast security and the relative stability in the Niger Delta, the nation’s elite would hide their faces in shame.
He said he was mindful of the daunting challenges faced by the judiciary in the areas of infrastructure and funding, hence the decision to increase the judiciary budget in the 2017 fiscal year.
President Muhammadu Buhari (left) with justices of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (2nd left) at the State House in Abuja yesterday PHOTO: State House