President Muhammadu Buhari has suggested that the Chief Justice of Nigeria [CJN], Walter Onnoghen, establishes special courts within prisons to hasten the process of justice dispensation and decongest correctional facilities in Nigeria.
He made the suggestion in his remarks when he hosted a delegation of the judicial arm of government at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to the President, the cogestion of prisons across the country was a national scandal that must be addressed immediately through a new approach, to save the country from further embarrassment.
He said the Minister of Justice and Attorney General had since requested that courts be established within prisons, in order to address the problem of logistics associated with the movement of suspects to courts during trial.
“My Attorney General is advocating establishment of courts inside the prisons to speed up decongestion.
“The logistical problem of transporting prisoners from prisons to courts means a difficult period for suspected detainees. This is really bad,” President Buhari lamented.
“We need a new approach to prisons decongestion. It is a national scandal that many prisons are overcrowned by up to 90 percent.
“Urgent new measures should be put in place to speedily decongest prisons not only in the interest of justice but to save cost for prisons maintenance and enhance the welfare of prisoners,” he also added.
He specifically commended the Judiciary for establishing special courts to speedy up trial for corruption and other criminal cases.
President Buhari said government decided to increase the budget of the Judiciary in view of the role it played and would sustain that to improve the dispensation of justice.
He said: “We are not unmindful of the daunting challenges faced by the judiciary in the areas of infrastructure and funding. This informed our decision to increase the judiciary’s budget in the 2017 fiscal year which we are committed to sustain. I have asked the Attorney General to take up this matter with the salaries and wages commission for advice to the President.”
He lamented that huge sums were being spent on security, especially in the North-East and Niger-Delta regions, instead of meaningful development, to better the lives of citizens.
He, however, said the stability of the country depended a lot on the Judiciary and the police.” he added.