By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior, Senator Andy Uba has made a case for prisoners in Nigeria not to be denied of their other basic human rights which they are still entitled to as prisoners.
This is even as he sought compensation for prisoners who are wrongly convicted and later found innocent as well as those who spend more time in jail awaiting trial than they would have spent if they were sentenced of the alleged crime.
Speaking at the opening of a public hearing on the consideration of 4 prison reform bill, Uba said that the reformation of the nation’s prisons was key to according prisoners their human rights.
He argued that imprisonment constitutes only a deprivation of the basic right to liberty.
“It does not entail the restriction of other human rights with the exception of those, which are naturally restricted by the very fact of being in Prison.
“Prison reform is necessary to ensure that this principle is respected, the human rights of prisoners protected and their prospects for social integration increased in compliance with relevant international standards and norms,” he said.
Uba added that since the advent of democracy in 1999, there had been various attempts to reform the prisons laws.
He added that prison reforms was an absolute must, that was why the National Assembly was convening the public hearing to come up with guidelines for the reforms.
“The intendment of all these aforementioned bills bothers on the reformation of our Prison service to reflect modern realities and accommodate present day needs.
“These bills seek to create a nexus between punishment, correction and rehabilitation as well as incorporating an articulate youthful offender program into our prison reforms.
“They also seek an upgrade on deplorable prison facilities, decongestion of over populated facilities, biometrics record keeping, and improvement in health and general welfare of inmates; of great importance is the care for pregnant inmates, nursing mothers as well as care for their infants,” he said.