Justice Sector Reform Should Top The Agenda In OYO State
elson Olanipekun has advised that the justice sector should top the agenda for Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, who just celebrated 100 days in office. Olanipekun’s Lead for Citizens Gavel, a civic tech and justice sector reform advocacy organisation, believes that “justice reform that can increase the pace of justice delivery in the state” should top the agenda for Makinde’s government.
“Oyo State has one of the highest numbers of awaiting trial detainees which stands at 86 per cent based on our April data survey, this is higher than the national average which stands at 69 per cent,” Olanipekun stated.
Data collected from 16 local government areas in the state reveal that over 20 per cent of citizens arrested by the police are brutalised during and after arrest.
It was also gathered that over 80 per cent of inmates were not treated fairly by prison wardens and this is against the conditions of detention in police custody and pre-trial detention stated in the Luanda guidelines section 24.
Prison cells in Oyo State are overcrowded. Some very small cells have over 100 detainees.
It was also reported that there is very poor hygiene of arrested and detained persons at police stations in Oyo State and this can lead to serious health conditions of inmates. Less than two per cent take a bath once in a week.
It was also highlighted in the report that over 90 per cent of the respondent said they have had very bad experiences in Oyo State prisons and police stations.
Even though N17bn was allocated for feeding inmates in Nigerian prisons, less than four per cent of Oyo State prison inmates are feed twice daily in detention cells.
Despite the N366.1bn police budget for 2019, less than seven per cent of arrested and detained citizens are given food once daily in Oyo State.
The Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) provision of session 34 says that magistrates are supposed to be visiting police stations but due to lack of proper framework to implement the provisions, less than one per cent of the inmates have been visited.
Arrested and detained persons have, according Section 8(1) of ACJL of Oyo State, rights to be informed of reasons of their arrest and charges against them but less than two per cent are notified of the reason for their arrests during or before the arrest.
It was also reported that almost 60 per cent of people arrested and inmates in Oyo State are youths.
According to Luanda guidelines, it is the duty of the court to ensure that every detainee is represented by a lawyer but 100 per cent of respondents say that they were not assigned a lawyer by the court.
And only two out of 100 respondents wrote their statements in front of a lawyer.