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Stakeholders back switch to non-custodial system in Edo prisons

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By Nosa Akenzua, Benin

Stakeholders in Edo state, on Monday, called for sustainable implementation of the Non-custodial Measures Act as the only way to prevent further stretching of the facilities of Nigeria Correctional Service NCS, formerly known as the Nigeria Prisons Service.

This agreement was reached at state consultative forum and training workshop organised by the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) in Benin City on the topic “Effective Implementation of Non-Custodial Measures.” The stakeholders said that the collaboration of the judiciary, ministry of justice, legislature, police and the NCS was needed to ensure effective implementation of the Act.

They noted that the domestication of the administration of the criminal justice, and having provision for the non-custodial measures was needed for its effective implementation, regretting that 68 percent of the inmates in prisons were those awaiting trial, saying that it is not all offences or offenders should be committed to prison terms.

The stakeholders which included the police, NCS, Judiciary, Legislature, Ministry of Justice, among others, noted that for the first time offenders and minor offences were better committed to Non Custodian measures and were unanimous in their agreement to play their part in ensuring the implementation of the Act.

The Edo state commissioner of police, Mr Philip Ogbadu, who was represented by the DCP, Muhammey Shehu, noted that the police was on its own have come out with various measures aimed at ensuring peaceful resolution of disputes rather than committal to prisons and, however, called for the sustainable implementation of the Act.

He said “Prisons have been filled above its capacity and, aside that, the COVID-19 pandemic disease hence the need for non-custodial measures.”

But the Edo state ministry of justice said that the measures, if well implemented, would save cost for the federal government in the area of provision of facilities and feeding of inmates as the director of public prosecution, (DPP) Mr Ade Irhuovbude in the ministry further stated that the implementation of the Act would stop agitation by inmates that usually leads to jail break.

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