Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), has stressed the need “to decolonise Nigerian prisons.”
He described the nation’s prisons system as “a draconian colonial system that has not been helpful to Nigeria.
“It has no process of making productivity out of the prisoners, or of creating opportunity for reforming them,” Osinbajo said.
He advocated a reformative process for prisoners in order to create a better society.
According to him, government’s efforts must go beyond apprehending and punishing offenders, adding that the efforts must also ensure appropriate reformation to make prisoners better persons when they are released.
Osinbajo, represented by the Aso Rock Chaplain, Seyi Joseph, said this in Abuja during the National Prison Ministry Conference and the Investiture of Patrons of Nigeria Prison Fellowship, with the theme, “Rebuilding loves and repairing the harms of crimes.”
He commended the prison fellowship for complementing the efforts of the government in reforming the lives of the prisoners, thereby creating a better society.
Osinbajo said, “The essence of government policy and effort towards ensuring that prisoners are incarcerated has a lot of roles and a lot of things to show to the public because the public expect government to catch the offenders and punish the offenders.
“But we all know it should go beyond that, by ensuring that there is a reformative process while they are in prison. Even though we are yet to attain that, efforts like that of the prison fellowship is complementing the effort of the government.”
The VP emphasised that the laudable efforts of the faith-based organisation should be encouraged.
He urged them to look beyond the 26 prisons that the prison fellowship are currently working with and collaborate with other NGOs and other faith-based institutions in reforming prisoners.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christians Pilgrims, Dr. Tor Uja, said there was need for the prison system and the criminal justice system to be restructured.
According to him, educational programme of the country should be developed, adding that the absence of educational opportunity was one of the major reasons for crime.
He said that judges need to be more proactive and people that have spent two years awaiting trial should be set free.