NBA urges government to pay fines for minor offender to ease prison congestion
The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Gombe State Chapter, has called on the state government to pay fines for persons convicted for minor offences in order to ease congestion of the Gombe Prison.
The Chairman of the association, Mr Victor Alkali, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Monday.
Alkali said the Gombe Prison, which was initially designed to accommodate 375 inmates, was now overstretched with 1,047.
“Gombe prison which was designed to accommodate 375 inmates is overstretched with 1047 inmates, three times the number that is supposed to be accommodated there.
“The room that is supposed to accommodate three inmates is now occupied by 10 persons.
“At the end of the day some of the inmates would be sent home as innocent after going to prison under dehumanising conditions,’’ he said.
Alkali said the state government should look into the matter and take steps to decongest the prison.
“Even though prison matter is not a state government issue, it can persuasively intervene,’’ Alkali said.
He said the NBA as an association, was encouraging members handling cases to avoid unnecessary adjournments, to ensure speedy dispensation of justice.
“This is because we want people on detention to receive judgment speedily and not continue staying in prison custody awaiting trial,’’ he added.
The chairman also said the welfare unit of NBA rendered free services to indigent clients who could not afford the services of lawyers.
“NBA gives free services to indigent client with issues that are not criminal in nature,” Alkali said.