Foundation For Environmental Rights.Advocacy & Development FENRAD A Human Rights Group in Aba. Abia state said it received with utter anger the shocking and dismal news of attempted prison break by some inmates in Aba Correctional Facility and the subsequent shooting by some men of the arms department of the Facility leading to various degrees of injuries on the part of the inmates at the yard.
FENRAD recalls that in 2018, in accordance with provisions of the administration of criminal justice act, ACJA 2015, the president ordered the Attorney General of the federation to quarterly grant pardon to detainees who have spent more than six years awaiting trial at different facilities record of which the inspector general shall make available to the attorney.
According to the Human Rights Group, This directive also extended to states Commissioners of Police (CPs) to, in a likewise manner, transfer quarterly records of inmates to the Chief Judges of the states within the federation who shall also grant pardon while at the same time granting such powers of reprieve to the chief magistrates who shall, based on such records made available by arrest authorizing officers grant pardon to inmates to facilitate decongestion of correctional facilities or yards.
“Unfortunately, the directive issued by the president is not being followed to the letter”, FENRAD said, adding that, “with specific reference to Abia. A lead report has it that out of 10, 000 plus persons ordered to be released throughout the federation, only a little over 2,000 of such persons have been so far released nationwide”.
FENRAD, In a Press Statement, obtained by ABACITYBLOG, Signed by Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor, said it’s not pleasant having Aba in such worrisome news.
“Aba, the commercial nerve of Abia was in the news and in a worrying situation. Inmates in the centre, it was gathered, attempted a prison break at the course of which officers of the arms department of the Facility, together with men of the Central Police Station, Aba Area Command, opened fire at the said inmates resulting in three of such persons being hospitalized together with other officers of the Correctional Facility at Federal Medical Center FMC Umuahia after bullet wounds and severe injuries.
“While FENRAD laments any attempt at breaking the detention center by inmates or detainees, it understands that the resort to maximum force as shown by the duty-bound officers is outrightly condemnable as it does not show respect for human rights and rules of engagement. The life of every citizen, FENRAD believes, is important whether doing prison time or free, unless where such a citizen has been condemned to death by the law – capital punishment.
“FENRAD regrets to make known that while the presidential order regarding prisoners’ release, especially to decongest the facilities in this period of global pandemic, is being considerably adhered to elsewhere, Abia’s case is different. In the case of Abia, not all the affected inmates have been released and this is worrisome given the era in which we are. Sad, it was, that certain persons serving various took laws into their hands citing this act of neglect. Had the necessary steps been followed this wouldn’t be the case.
“FENRAD demands the state’s Controller of Corrections brings to book those officials who shot at the said victims while demanding same is done to the collaborating police officers likewise.
“FENRAD regrets that while Abia has hitherto harvested from tragedy of deaths of innocent citizens from security agencies, especially, during the lockdown, an act of this magnitude should not add more to such sorrows. FENRAD wishes to make it known that it shall stop at nothing, in this regard, to see that every party gets justice. No stone shall be left unturned as rights shall matter in Abia, no less.
“FENRAD regrets this melee and the attendant mayhem in a time like this. COVID-19 should avail Abia and all security agencies thereof such opportunity to look inward and reassess our collective journey for peace. Indeed, may peace never elude Abia.
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