By Lawrence Olaoye Abuja
The federal government has said that a total number of 2,359 convicts are awaiting the hangmen across the country.
Briefing newsmen after the monthly National Economic Council (NEC) meeting chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, the Bauchi state governor, Muhammaed Abubakar, regretted that the inability of the state governors to approve the death sentence of the condemned convicts was complicating the challenge of prison congestion in the country.
Anambra state governor, Willie Obiano, who also briefed newsmen disclosed that the Council agreed to set up a federal monitoring unit to identify locations of crucial actions on realistic estimates and implementation of flood prevention, mitigation and preparedness program for flood in the country.
Oyo state deputy governor, Moses Adeyemi, on his own disclosed that the Excess Crude Account, Stabilization Fund Account and Natural Resources Account now stood at $1,918,509,918.86, N18,882,864,216.56 and N133,715,427,387.37 respectively.
On prison congestion, the Bauchi governor said “The Attorney General of the Federation made a presentation on the vexed issue of prison decongestion. The problems bedeviling prisons in Nigeria is a matter of common knowledge and this presentation have special consideration to condemned prisoners. As at July 18th we have 2,359 condemned convicts nationwide and the threats they present to the prison system is very very clear. Because, these are a set of people who do not have any care in the world, the system has already condemned them and the need to carry out whatever sentence that has been passed by the courts is very eminent.”
On why the execution of the condemned criminals could not be cared out, the governor said the Attorney General and Minister of Justice recommended “That state governors may wish to carry out a review of the cases of condemned convicts within their jurisdiction as enshrined Section 212 of the 1999 constitution;
That the Nigerian Prisons Service to review it’s policy on inter-state transfer of prisoners to reduce incidences of prisoners being held outside their states of conviction;
Cases of convicts outside the state of conviction maybe forwarded to the governor of the state where they were sentenced for consideration.”
He continued “Most of the actions are to be taken by governors because for example, the condemned prisoners it is the governors that have the responsibility of signing the warrant of execution. What usually bedevils this system is the fact that for example, all the prisons in Bauchi do not have facilities for execution of condemned criminals. So if a prisoner is sentenced to death in Bauchi, he will have to be transferred to Jos prison for execution and when that is done, the two governors of Bauchi and Plateau will have to sign the warrant of execution. Usually, what happens is that he Plateau state governor will say I don’t know anything about this condemned prisoner, he was not condemned in my state. So this is what is causing the congestion and the attorney general is working on the administration of justice Act with a view to fine tuning it to give some powers to the states so that they can take care of these problems.’
On measures to be taken to curb flooding, Obiano said “The council also agreed to set up a federal monitoring unit to comprise officers of the collaborating entities, federal states and presidential committee on flood relief response to be headed by a director. This is to identify locations of crucial actions on realistic cost estimates and implementing flood prevention, mitigation and preparedness programme.
Council also approved a project cost sharing ratio of federal government 30 percent, states 30 percent, presidential committee on flood 40 percent on identified projects.”
National Economic Adviser to the President, Adeyemi Dipeolu, also told newsmen that the Council had approved the establishment of SMSEs clinics across the country.