The Public Complaints Commission (PCC), the country’s Ombudsman, has advocated improved living condition for prisoners in the nation’s Correctional Centers.
The Chief Commissioner of PCC, Mr Abimbola Ayo-Yusufu, made the call at a stakeholders/public hearing on developments within the Nigeria Correctional Service on Wednesday in Owerri.
Ayo-Yusufu said the commission had taken note of the condition of facilities, which directly affected the welfare, treatments, medication, environmental and sanitary conditions of inmates in various facilities.
He urged the stakeholders to proffer workable and enduring solutions to the challenges of decongesting the prisons, reintegrating inmates into society as well as equipping them with various vocational trainings.
Also, the PCC’s Federal Commissioner in Imo, Chief Mike Uzodimma, who read out a report of investigation carried out by the commission, decried the deplorable condition of the Owerri Correctional Centre.
Uzodimma said that most of the inmates were held in squalid and congested cells without adequate care. According to him, the situation led to frequent avoidable deaths and outbreak of diseases, especially skin and respiratory infections.
“Awaiting trial inmates charged for minor offences are regrettably accommodated in the same cell with persons being tried for kidnapping or hostage taking.
“Inmates are grossly malnourished and pale, following complaints of the food rations being unfit for human consumption as contractors frequently supply unwholesome food items,” he said.
A representative of the Department of State Services, Mr Dan Jebtoa, expressed the belief that an improvement in the welfare of the Correctional Center officials would reflect in the improved condition of inmates.
Also, a Legal Practitioner, Mr Emeka Nwangwu, called for improved budgetary allocation for the nation’s correctional centers to enable them to overcome the challenges and prevent a looming disaster