In order to ensure effective improvement on the terrible state of prisons in the country, the Senate yesterday advanced its move to transform all the prisons across the country, to make them habitable for inmates. To this end, the upper legislative chamber has harmonised and passed for second reading three bills seeking to repeal and re-enact the Prisons Act.
The three bills were sponsored by Senators Babajide Omoworare (APC Osun East), Oluremi Tinubu (APC Lagos Central) and Mohammed Sha’aba Lafiagi (APC Kwara North). The sponsors of the Prisons bill were allowed time independently to lead separate debates on their proposals, during which they convinced their colleagues on the dire need to repeal the extant Prisons Act. Senator Tinubu particularly focused on prison congestion and the pathetic condition of infants and pregnant women in prisons, stressing the need to improve.
Senator Tinubu particularly focused on prison congestion and the pathetic condition of infants and pregnant women in prisons, stressing the need to improve on the situation. She said, “It is disheartening to sight infants living with their mothers in the prisons where movement is restricted, freedom restrained and liberty impeded. It is a common knowledge that this
It is a common knowledge that this phenomenon has the potential of impeding all round growth of the infant and may cause retardation. This forms the basis for this amendment. “The incidences of women going to serve jail term while they are pregnant or nursing infants is known to many nations of the world but while some nations have found solutions to the problem by way of legislation, Nigeria has left these matters to hance and the magnanimity of individuals and charities.
“My colleagues in the seventh Assembly would recall that the plight of infants in prisons gave cause for concern which prompted the members of the Women Affairs Committee of the Senate to embark on an oversight visit to Suleja prisons in 2013 where members expressed their concern and pledged assistance. “This Bill attempts to provide solution by ensuring that Prison Authorities provide special accommodation to meet prenatal and postnatal needs of pregnant inmates, designate structures as nursery to be staffed by qualified persons where the infants shall be placed when they are not in the care of their mothers, and also fight against stigmatisation of babies born in prison by providing that the circumstances of their birth shall not be included in their birth certificate.