The Nigeria Prisons Services (NPS) has said the large number of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) members being remanded in various prison facilities in the South-East and South-South regions have further stretched the inadequate correctional facilities in the regions.
The Assistant Comptroller General in charge of Zone E, comprising of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Imo and Rivers, with headquarters in Owerri, Alloy Uchenwa, said this when he addressed journalists in Umuahia yesterday.
According to him, over 100 IPOB members are currently remanded in various prisons in the zone from where they go to court to face trial following the clash with soldiers who invaded the home of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, last month.
“It was a miracle yesterday how we were able to convey 100 IPOB members to court,” Uchenwa said.
The prison boss, who explained that he was in Abia State as part of his routine inspection of facilities in commands under his zone, said inadequate logistics as one of the major challenges of the prisons and appealed to individuals, organisations and governments to come to the assistance of the zone.
He also identified prison congestion as another challenge confronting the service, saying a situation where “more than 90 per cent of inmates are awaiting trial was worrisome.”
Uchenwa called for the building of more prison yards to ease the challenge of overcrowding, adding that a situation where cells for 500 are being occupied by 1,000 inmates was not conducive.
He said he had raised the issue of prison congestion with Abia State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Umeh Kalu (SAN), who he said promised to do something.