Cross River Speaker advice FG to hand over Prisons to States

Cross River State House of Assembly Speaker, Hon John Gaul Lebo

The speaker, Cross River State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. John Gaul Lebo has called on the Federal Government to hand over Federal prisons located in States to be managed by State Government.

Lebo said this when members of the Cross River State Chapter of Prisons Fellowship visited him to intimate him on the workings and challenges of the fellowship.

He pointed out that the State Government support for Prisons within the State is constrained due to the fact that prison allocation is being deducted by the Federal Government from State allocation and it’s managed by the Federal Government.

The speaker added that Government is putting up necessary framework to decongest prisons in the State and since there is no parole in the criminal justice law, the House plans to address related issues when the criminal justice bill which is on the floor of the Cross River State House of Assembly is passed next week.

Lebo who said he is supportive of the Cross River State Chapter of the Prisons Fellowship and maintained however, that it was the prerogative of the State Governor to render logistic support for prisons and that he would confer with His Excellency, Prof Ben Ayade to intimate him on their challenges.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Cross River State Chapter of the Prisons Fellowship, Otunba Sunday Onalaja notify the Speaker that the Afukang prison was made to host 450 inmates but presently houses 820, lamenting that some of them sleep on the floor due to inadequate accommodation.

Otunba Onalaja maintained that the prison fellowship which also provides assistance for inmates in other prisons across the State can no longer cope because of the increase in number, and were therefore seeking the State Government’s intervention.

He said the situation is pathetic and that in the past, the State Chief Judge often visited prisons to decongest them where necessary but that it has not been done for a long while.
“Some of the inmates are just there for simple cases without trials such people should be freed”, Onalaja charged.

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