NBA Uyo Branch Calls for Cordial Working Relationship with Nigerian Prisons Service

NBA Uyo branch visits Prisons officers
Members of the Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, Uyo branch with top Prisons officers during their working visit to the facility

The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Uyo branch, has called for a cordial working relationship between the Bar and officials of the Nigerian Prison Service in Akwa Ibom state.

This position was stated Tuesday, when the Vice Chair, Mrs. Iquo Abia led officers of the branch on a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the state command of the service where they were received by the Controller of Prisons, CP Alex Oditah and members of the management teams in the state.

In her speech, Mrs. Abia expressed the appreciation of the Bar at the reformation that has taken place in the various prisons within the state.

Speaking further, Mrs. Abia informed the Controller that the current leadership of the Bar has concluded plans to set up a special committee to liaise with the prison service in an effort to decongest the prisons in the state.

In addition, she called on the prison authorities to set up an internal mechanism to effectively address allegations of extortion, inhuman treatments of inmates , abuse of inmates’ rights , harassment of lawyers in the cause of carrying out their professional duties and misconducts leveled against some officials of the state.

NBA Uyo branch Vice Chair, Mrs Iquo Abia had a lengthy discussion with the Controller of Prisons, CP Alex Oditah

Responding, CP Oditah thanked the Nigerian Bar Association, Uyo Branch for the visit and stressed that as joint stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice in the state, it is important the NBA and the Nigerian Prison Service work together harmoniously.

He expressed concerns that the culture of lawyers handling matters on pro bono bases especially as it affects the prisons where about eighty percent of the inmates are awaiting trials, is not entrenched in the state as compared to other states he had served, but he hoped that with the proposed prisons decongestion initiatives of the branch, better things are bound to come forth.

He called on good spirited members of the society to come to the aid of inmates of the prisons, as apart from free medical services, they require other forms of assistance in the areas of recreational facilities, skill acquisition centers, educational supports and vehicles to convey inmates to courts. He revealed that at present, the Uyo prison has only four vehicles that services about 55 courts in 17 local government areas of the state. CP Oditah also expressed fear about the perimeter fence securing the Uyo prison as it is at risk of collapsing during heavy rainfall, due to erosion that is eating deep into its foundation.

He expressed hope that the Akwa Ibom State Government will come to the rescue of the service in the state by doing the needful to avert the calamity that may befall the state if the perimeter fence is allowed to fall and expose the innocent citizens to danger.

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