Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has appealed to the federal government to as a matter of urgency, consider relocating the Enugu Prisons from its present location at the city center, to a safer part of town.
He made the appeal when he visited the prisons yesterday accompanied by the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe; senator representing Enugu North Senatorial District, Chuka Utazi and other members of the commission.
The delegation from the NHRC was in Enugu as part of its nationwide audit of prisons and detention facilities in order to ascertain their condition and level of compliance with basic human rights.
Gov. Uguwanyi, who appeared to be deeply concerned about the security implications of the prisons in the city center, recalled that when it was built in 1915, the present location was regarded as the outskirts of the city.
However, over a century later, the location has now become the city center as a result of development and urbanization, thus making it unsafe and inconvenient for both the public and the prison officials, he noted.
Mr. Ugwuanyi said that the visit was timely in view of the recent spate of jailbreaks across the country, adding that it would “help provide insights into the immediate and remote causes of these incidents and also provide answers as to how such occurrences can be prevented in future”.
He said it was expedient to decongest the prison having being stretched beyond its capacity, and lauded the officials of the Commission on their goal to secure justice for inmates who have been on awaiting trial list longer than their offence would have attracted.
In his remarks, Prof. Angwe praised the governor’s humanitarian inclinations saying: “Some governors spend eight years without making a single visit to prison; but you have visited more than once”.
The delegation was received by Controller of Prison, Enugu State Command, Amaliri Ifeanyi and his deputy Felix Lawrence.