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FG to decongest prisons within two years

‘Many innocent Nigerian children languishing in Lagos, other state prisons’ — UNICEF
Mr. Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (SAN) says the Federal Government is determined to decongesting prisons across the country within the next two years.

Malami said this on Tuesday in Abuja when briefing newsmen.

He said the measure was part of the efforts to revitalise the Ministry of Justice in enhancing efficiency and improved services in line with government’s justice sector reforms.

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The minister said the government was considering plans to create a central coordinating unit in the ministry for effective coordination of all federal criminal cases within the country.

“In accordance with the approval and mandate of the Federal Executive Council at its 19th meeting, the Ministry of Justice in collaboration with other stakeholders will undertake prison reforms and decongestion.’’

He said the strategies would involve the installation and implementation of a state of the art modern Virtual Automated Case Management System to assist the ministry with necessary information on prison inmates.

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“We are looking at a two-year time frame but then among the multiple modalities that are put in place, as rightly stated is the automated electronic system.

“The way we intend the electronic system to be deployed is that we will have online connections to be manned by the trained staff in every prison location.

“These staff will key in information which will automatically be transmitted to the office of the Attorney-General, the office of the Inspector General and the heads of courts.

“This is to ensure monitoring of activities in the prison system on a daily basis.

“For example, on a daily basis, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court will be able to monitor who is due to be taken to court, which court and at what time.’’

According to him, from the system, the AGF will be able to monitor who is brought into the prison, when the person is brought and the offense he is charged with.

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“So this will assist us in policy formulation and data gathering for the purpose of ensuring that people are taking to court as and when due and necessary investigation is conducted.”

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