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ANRP Opposes Deal for the UK to Build a Prison in Nigeria at £700,000

Added : Sun Mar 11, 2018 @ 4:03:54 || Read by 295 Visitor(s)

ABUJA, 11 March 2018 – Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) is against the move by the United Kingdom to build a 112-bed wing at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison at the cost of £700,000 in order to transfer Nigerian inmates serving terms in UK prisons there.
 
The outgone PDP administration had on 10 January 2014 signed an agreement for transfer of prisoners between the 2 countries, being part of the key objectives of the communiqué issued by Prime Minister David Cameron and President Goodluck Jonathan following their meeting 3 years prior on 19 January 2011. However, the extremely poor and inhabitable condition of Nigerian prisons created a legal barrier for the UK in returning Nigerian inmates in their prisons to Nigeria, therefore this deal with the Nigerian government to build prisons in Nigeria. The most recent official records from the British Ministry of Justice indicate that there are 270 Nigerians inmates in UK prisons representing 2.8% of the total foreign UK inmate population.
 
‘The provision of this assistance is in line with the government’s security and stability objectives in West Africa’, British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson said in a written statement to the British Parliament. ANRP fails to see how this ‘assistance’ of building a prison in Nigeria helps achieve any security and stability objectives for Nigeria. 
 
To be sure, Nigerian prisons are severely overcrowded many times over, and in many instances, by more than 5 times the carrying capacity. Many young people are languishing in jail because they cannot pay even the meagre amounts fined them because more and more Nigerians are sliding into extreme poverty. This makes members of the political class happy as they can have almost anyone incarcerated at will (most especially the governors). More than 70% of inmates are awaiting trial, most for more than 5 years. As recently as a month ago, Vice President Yemi Osibanjo said that Nigerian prisons are turning inmates into animals due to their deplorable and gory conditions over the years. The Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Prisons Service said our prisons lack data on inmates.
 
This is one great problem with the outgoing APC administration. ANRP will not complain, decry, and analyse problems, we will roll up our sleeves and get to work. Our justice, law enforcement, and correctional sectors need to be torn down and rebuilt adequately from scratch. By far too many inmates are on remand. There should be non-custodial sentences like fines for minor offences especially for first time offenders. Prosecution can be done more diligently. Trials can be sped up especially with the use of technology, prisons should be expanded and refurbished. Depending on the charge, persons who have been in remand for periods of time long enough to be their prison terms should be rehabilitated and set free. These and many more our party would do. 
 
On 13 January 2017, the Prime Minister Andrew Holness administration in Jamaica rejected the £25 million offer by the UK to build a prison in their country. ‘. . . the terms of are not beneficial to Jamaica and so we have rejected it’, spokesperson for the Jamaican government told the Jamaican Parliament. The Prime Minister, then the Opposition Leader had said that the money was better spent on education. 
 
ANRP wonders what benefit Nigeria and Nigerians stand to gain from this deal, and how Nigeria and Nigerians’ best interests are served in this transaction? Furthermore, ANRP is opposed to the beggarly attitude of collecting aid, abdicating responsibility and asking others to solve our problems instead of solving our own problems with dignity. Just this January Nigeria handed over the polio eradication loan taken from the Government of Japan to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to pay. 
 
‘We cannot keep collecting aid and loans from foreigners whilst our leaders at home are the most ostentatious in the world living large on our collective commonwealth. They lack sensitivity and shame, they have become dependent on loans and handouts. It is a great wonder where our export proceeds, taxes, and recovered monies go to because it looks like we are now totally bankrupt’, Tope Fasua, ANRP National Chairman said in frustration at the political cabal running Nigeria aground. 
 
Had we a functional law enforcement, justice system, and correctional systems our prisons would not be crowded and not fail to meet the required standards, and therefore there would be no need for the UL to build a prison in Nigeria. Correcting these anomalies is what the UK can put pressure on Nigeria’s leaders to do, which is the right thing to do. The deal for the UK to build a prison in Nigeria is outright and totally rejected by ANRP! 
 
Join us. Learn more about us at: www.anrp.org.ng
 
Sesugh Akume 
 
National Spokesman
Office Telephone: 09064796674 (9 am - 5 pm)
@AbundantNigeria

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