• Says prison congestion national scandal
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met with a delegation of the justices of the Supreme Court, wherein he made a case for a new approach to hastening the decongestion of prisons in Nigeria.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, led the judges.
The President, who noted that prisons in the country were overcrowded by up to 90 percent, said the situation was a national scandal that must be addressed immediately through a new approach, to save the country from further embarrassment.
Buhari, who noted that there were problems 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.
“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,” the president said.
He said government decided to increase the budget of the Judiciary in view of the role it plays and would sustain that to improve the dispensation of justice.
He also said he was mindful of the daunting challenges faced by the judiciary in the areas of infrastructure and funding, hence its decision to increase the judiciary budget in the 2017 fiscal year, which his administration is committed to sustain.
President Buhari 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 said if he should disclose the amount of money spent on the northeast security and the relative stability in the Niger Delta, the nation’s elite would hide their faces in shame.
Earlier in his remarks, Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen thanked God for healing the president.
Justice Onnoghen reassured the president that that the judiciary will continue to do its best for the country. He also thanked the federal executive council for its support and cooperation.