Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP, Benue) says all Nigerian political leaders should spend two days at Nigeria Correctional Service to appreciate its challenges.
He made the comment on Tuesday during the debate of a motion on the need to upgrade, decongest and disinfect correctional centres nationwide, sponsored by Senator Uche Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra).
Senate President Ahmad Lawan interjected by saying former governors and their deputies should be the ones to spend two days in prison.
Senator Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East), who also contributed to the debate, said correctional service centres in Nigeria were ‘colleges for hardened criminals’.
Contributing further to the motion, Suswam said his two days stay in the Kuje Prison gave him a lot of experience about the sorry state of Nigerian prisons.
“I want to support this motion based on my experience and when I left, I recommended that for people to be proper leaders in this country, at least each and every one of us must spend one or two days in prison,” Suswam said.
Lawan interjected: “Anyone who served as a governor, yes and deputy governor probably.”
Suswam then continued: “Like what the former Minister, Abba Moro said earlier: “I went there, they took me there in the night. The following day in the morning, the entire prison knew I was there.
“I sat down there from morning to evening because there were a lot of young people there and it might interest you to know that they spend years in prison, their demeanour, you can’t easily dismiss.
“There was a young man who has spent 10 years there for just a problem of N10,000. Various individuals were there on very minor offences that the police can afford to correct them and send them home.
“I made it a point of duty that when I left that place, for the next one month, I took close to 20 young people out of that place. It didn’t take anything, just pay the money and send them back to court.
“I selected three lawyers whom I sent to Kuje prison. Most of the people that are there don’t need to be there and they unduly congest the place,” Suswam added.
Senator Rochas Okorocha (APC, Imo) said Nigeria prison demonstrated the worst kind of man’s inhumanity to man and should be addressed.
The Senate resolved that the Federal Government should encourage private participation in the development of correctional centres across the country.
It urged the Ministry of Interior to commence the process of upgrading facilities in correctional centres.
It also urged the correctional services to adequately profile inmates and separate them accordingly to avoid lumping of light/first offenders with hardened criminals.
The Senate also urged the service to undertake a national clean-up and fumigation of all correctional facilities in the country to avoid outbreak of epidemics.