A Non Governmental Organisation, Foundation for Peace Professionals also known as PeacePro has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to free all unsentenced prisoners in Nigeria.
The organization also said that, setting free suspects, who have been held in detention without justice, is far more honourable than keeping innocent people perpetually in prison.
In a statement by Abdulrazaq Hamzat, an Executive Director of PeacePro on Friday, the organisation announced its advocacy to end what it described as “destructive incarceration ” in the country.
Hamzat explained that, the advocacy to end “destructive incarceration” in Nigeria is part of its recommendations in the upcoming edition of Nigeria Peace Index (NPI), a national replica of the renown Global Peace Index research.
According to him, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had shown that over 72% of people in prison cells or correctional facilities across Nigeria are unsentenced prisoners, some of whom had spent over 10 years in prison, for a crime that if convicted, they would probably spend less years in jail.
Hamzat states further that, while the organisation recognises the numerous efforts of government aimed at correcting the concern, he regrets that all government efforts to address the culture of “destructive incarceration ” have yielded little result and he believes that it is time to forgive those in detention, if they have indeed committed any crime.
Mr Hamzat explained that, some people might argue that freeing suspected criminals in a country currently battling different kinds of insecurity challenges may be dangerous, but we are of the views that imprisoning innocent people is even far more dangerous because it is a worse form of injustice.
“This is why the law prefers to release 99 suspects than jail 1 innocent person” he said, adding that those suspects are kept in detention without justice for no fault of there’s.
Furthermore, Mr Hamzat maintained that, “In a country like Nigeria, where Niger Delta militants, who waged armed war against the nation are pardoned, where bandits who kidnapped and killed many are forgiven and where repentant Boko Haram members, whose comrades are still at war with the nation are accommodated, certainly, seeking forgiveness for suspects of petty crimes, who have been held in detention for a long period should not be out of place.
We therefore call on the President of Nigeria and Attorney General of the federation to look into this proposal and calling on all people of goodwill to support the initiative.
Recall that the maiden edition of Nigeria Peace Index (NPI) was release in 2018, with Osun, Kogi and Ekiti State emerging 3 most peaceful state in Nigeria.
The next edition of the NPI shall be released in months to come.