By Peace O. Aboje
HUMAN rights lawyer and activist, Femi Falana (SAN) has sued President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly and Comptroller General of Nigerian Correctional Service at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court over the poor condition of prisons in Nigeria.
Falana has alleged in the suit that federal authorities failed to provide monitoring devices such as Close Circuit Television (CCTV) and other instruments of restraint at the Kuje Prison, Abuja, which was attacked by terrorists last July when they freed over 600 inmates, including 64 Boko Haram terrorists.
Falana is therefore praying the court to determine the following: one; “Whether the defendants are not under a legal obligation to provide monitoring devices, close circuit television and other instruments of restraint at prisons in line with Section 28 (1) of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act;” and two; “Whether the defendants are not under a legal obligation to establish and maintain a fully equipped armed squad, intelligence at prisons, in line with Section 28 (2) of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act.”
Falana is further praying the court to “Declare that by virtue of Section 28 (1), (2) & (3) of the Prisons Act, the defendants are under a legal obligation to: Provide monitoring devices to protect, control and safeguard prisons’ activities, including observatory towers, double perimeter walls, close circuit television, body scanners, e-monitoring devices, electrically activated alarm systems and other instruments of restraint.”
In an affidavit deposed to by Ayodele Aribisala Esq. of Falana and Falana’s Chambers, Falana averred that the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service acknowledged the porous nature of security arrangement across the detention centres.
“The failure of the Federal Government to provide these security equipment amounts to a contravention of the provisions of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act 2019.
“That upon investigations into the uncanny and terrible attack, it was discovered that the prison was not equipped with close circuit televisions and other security monitoring devices that it ought to have been equipped with.”
He further averred that the “failure of the defendants to ensure compliance with Section 28 (1), (2) & (3) the Nigerian Correctional Service Act 2019 does not only impact negatively on the rights and security of members of the general public but also the security of the inmates as well.”