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Ramadan: ‘Why Buhari, govs must declare emergency in prison sector

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Ramadan: ‘Why Buhari, govs must declare emergency in prison sector

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on President Buhari, and all state governors to declare emergency in the prison sector. The group, which said this in its Ramadan message also called on the Chief Justice of the Federation and all state Chief Judges to reflect on the statement of love and mercy by Prophet Muhammed in relation to the condition of inmates of Nigerian prisons nationwide during this Ramadan.

“We must think of how they too can benefit from the special qualities of Ramadan,” MURIC said in a statement issued by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

“Buhari must borrow a leaf from his United Arab Emirate (UAE) counterpart, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who ordered the release of 935 prisoners ahead of the upcoming holy fasting month of Ramadan.

He issued the order on Monday 14th May, 2018. We urge Mr. President to declare an emergency in the prison sector and use his prerogative of mercy to release thousands of prison inmates.

This is in view of the terrible condition of the nations’ prisons where inmates sleep in turns, diseases spread like wild fire on a daily basis. “This will not be a strange development and Buhari will not be the first president of an African nation to release a large number of prison inmates.

Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, released 7,000 prison inmates in October 2016 to make room for corruption offenders. “We charge Mr. President to walk his talk on the predicament of Nigerian prisoners and people who are awaiting trial.

It will be recalled that Buhari on October 5, 2017 described the situation in Nigeria’s prisons as a ‘national scandal’. Buhari must muster the political will to turn around this horrible situation.

The time for the ‘change’ he has been brandishing is now,” MURIC said. Making a special case for the 54 soldiers serving a ten year jail term for refusing to fight Boko Haram with poor weapons, the group said that it regarded “those 54 soldiers as heroes in the present war against corruption because their action exposed the massive corruption in the armed forces.

Their present predicament is a miscarriage of justice. “We also request that Shaykh Al-Zakzaky be set free if the following conditions can b e m e t , namely, dialogue involving the Nigerian Muslim leadership, leaders of Al-Zakyzaky group and the Minister of Interior, an assurance of respect for peace, law and order by the Al-Zakzaky group, a written commitment that members of the group will stop intimidat-ing their neighbours and a halt to the group’s endless long-distance walks on express ways which cause hardship to innocent citizens.

“The Minister of Interior, Abdul Rahman Danbazau, said in June 2017 that 70 percent of Nigerian prisoners are awaiting trial. Many of these awaiting trial inmates have stayed beyond the likely jail term for their alleged offences. For instance, 34 years old Kazeem Sani, a motorcyclist was arrested and detained in 2006 for stealing a mobile phone.

He could not have bagged more than six months for petty stealing but he spent ten years in the Kirikiri Medium Prison without trial before he was set free in July 2016. Emeka Arum who was accused of armed robbery spent eight years awaiting trial in an Enugu prison. Chukwujekwu Ifejika, spent seven years in Onitsha prison also without trial.”

The group continued; “The presence of awaiting trial inmates has caused a general congestion of prisons nationwide. Enugu prison which was built for 638 inmates holds 1,800. 1,574 inmates out of 1,761 prisoners in Anambra are awaiting trial.

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