Some human rights lawyers have condemned the high rate of inmates awaiting trial in correctional centres across the country.

A total of 70,746 inmates are presently in correctional centers across the country including the Federal Capital Territory. This is aside from the 3,906 inmates, who escaped from correctional centres during jailbreaks in some states.

Of the total number of the inmates, 51,218 represents 70 per cent are awaiting trial, while 19,528 inmates, representing 30 per cent, have been convicted.

The figures were published on the website of the Nigerian Correctional Service on November 15.

A further breakdown of the figures showed that of the total number of inmates, 69,401 are males while 1, 345 are females.

Also, of the convicted number, 19,528 are males and 315 are females while 50,188 of those awaiting trials are males and 1030 are females.

But a human right Lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, lamented the percentage of inmates awaiting trial. According to him, the frivolous charges by the police were mainly responsible for it.

He said, “The police are largely responsible for the congestion of our custodian centers. They file frivolous and dubious charges against some people. Most of these charges do not have basis in fact and law and they lack merit and once they get to the court they are remanded.

“The police are also guilty of frame-up of people for different charges. I have seen so many of such cases. This is what is responsible for the congestion. The correctional service has no fault.

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The courts, especially the magistrate courts, also contribute to this problem. For us to address this issue, we must look at how the police are undermining the criminal justice system. It is not proper for people to be kept for too long in prison all in the name of awaiting trial.”

Another Human rights lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, also blamed the police, calling for an overhaul of the justice system.

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