The Senate on Wednesday summoned the Controller-General of Nigerian Prison Service, Ja’afaru Ahmed, to appear before its Committee on Interior to explain why underage offenders and infants should be confined with adults in the prisons.
The upper chamber also urged various security agencies involved in the arrest and detention of juveniles to ensure that they are not incarcerated beyond 48 hours.
These resolutions were sequel to a motion on “Illegal Confinement of Underage Offenders/Infants in the Same Prison with Adult Prisoners,” brought by Senator Victor Umeh (APGA-Anambra) at plenary.
Mr Umeh noted that he was traumatised by the gory pictures of underage children languishing in prison as contained on pages 13 to 15 of a national newspaper of Saturday, March 31.
According to him, the report was captioned “Kids Behind Bars: World of Underage Languishing in Prison.”
The lawmaker alleged that police prosecutors encouraged underage offenders to inflate their ages during arraignment in courts, assuring them that such practice would lead to their release.
He expressed concerns that the repercussion of keeping infants in prison with their mothers was enormous, as it would deny them proper upbringing.
The lawmaker, therefore, advocated that separating underage offenders and the innocent infants from regular prisons as prescribed by law would go a long way in protecting their mental health and development.
The prayers of the motion were unanimously adopted by the lawmakers after a voice vote administered by Senate President Bukola Saraki.