Stakeholders in Kano justice sector have urged courts in the state to apply discretion, when ordering the remand of suspected pregnant women, juveniles and insane persons, in prison custody.
The stakeholders, comprising of High Court judges, magistrates, investigating police officers, prison wardens, court prosecutors, defence lawyers, and community based paralegal described as worrisome, the current situation bordering on protection of the rights and privileges of persons under detention, in Kano prisons.
The group in a communiqué issued at the end of a two days programme, organized by Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative, IWEI, titled “The Protections and Privileges of Persons Under Detention.” Said , the courts would assist, in protecting the rights of suspected person , if they use their discretion judiciously in ensuring that pregnant, and insane persons are remanded in prison custody, “only when necessary.”
The statement signed by the Executive Secretary, IWEI, hajiya Amina Hanga posit that, unnecessary adjournment of court cases constitute one of the major reasons that has resulted to rampant violations of rights of persons in detention, also culminating into overcrowding of prison facilities in the state.
Hanga said, Kano justice sector stakeholders are pathetic about the conditions of persons in detention, explaining that, lack of adequate manpower in the justice sector, specifically, Nigeria police, prison service and lack of professional court interpreters, couple with lack communication between detainees and their relatives are factors that have been identified to be militating against access to justice , in the state.
According to the communiqué , a large number of Awaiting Trial Inmates detained at the eight satellite prisons in the state, do not have access to lawyer. Urging Nigeria Bar Association, NBA to encourage, its members to embark on massive Pro bono services to indigent persons in Kano.
The communiqué said “The absence of human rights desk officers at police stations , situated in local government areas, is one of the stringent factors , that is frustrating the protection of the rights and privileges of persons in detention.
“The stakeholders in session note that the authorities affected, should address the shortage of manpower bedeviling the Nigerian police, Nigeria Prison Service, NPS, and the judiciary, against the current situation wherein officers and men of these services are assigned to discharge double assigned roles, this situation pave avenue for the encroachment on and in extension violation of rights and privileges of persons in detention. “ The communiqué stated.