Kano State programme Officer of Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), Katume Mohammed, has disclosed that 70 percent of prison inmates in Nigeria are there illegally as they have not been proven guilty by the law.
Mohammed made this known while speaking at a media capacity building seminar organized by the NGO in Kano to train crime reporters on various human rights dimensions in the criminal justice system in the country.
She went on to note that the majority of the victims of illegal detention are petty offenders who could have been slammed with community service for their offences.
“We want to see that government decriminalizes petty offences by not taking the offenders to prison, there should be an alternative, something that as soon as these offenders are caught in violation of the law they should be asked to do, either community service like cleaning gutters, roads or any similar activity that will serve as a punishment for the offence.
“Detaining them has a cost implication for the government because when they are detained they must be fed, if they are sick the government has to take care of them and all these contribute a lot to the cost of governance,” she said.