Lagos youths need help, not imprisonment —PRAI

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The Executive Director, Prisoners’ Rights Advocacy Initiative, Ahmed Adetola-Kazeem, has decried the poor state of prisons in Lagos State, especially Badagry Prison.

Adetola-Kazeem, in a letter to the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, dated August 18, 2017, noted that despite the fact that prisons were funded and managed by the Federal Government, inmates in prisons in the state were jailed or remanded because they committed or suspected to have committed offences classified as state offences.

He said, “The situation in prisons, especially Badagry Prison, is appalling. The outbreak of infections and communicable diseases is a normal occurrence in this prison.

“There is overcrowding, lack of ventilation, mosquito nets, toilet facilities, space for sports and recreation, vehicles to convey inmates to court and an ambulance to convey them to hospitals.”

Adetola-Kazeem said the recent news about the release of 142 underage persons across prisons in Lagos by the Chief Judge came with mixed feelings.

He said, “What are we doing to stem the tide of underage imprisonment? Your Excellency, while your efforts at building a beautiful state is commended, there is a growing feeling in the public space that this is being achieved at the expense of the poor and the vulnerable.

The rights activist noted that 70 per cent of  the Badagry Prison inmates were arrested for hawking or other related offences and were sentenced to prison terms.

“What efforts are being put in place by the government to ensure that these underage inmates are rehabilitated and empowered so that they can stop hawking?”

“Some of the boys who hawk on the streets are very fast and strong considering the speed with which they chase vehicles in traffic.

“I believe if they are nurtured, properly groomed and paid monthly stipends, they would not only leave the street, but win laurels for the state and country in major competitions,” he added.


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