Group Wants Okaka Correctional Center Decongested

By Ovie smith yenagoa

….as facility hosts 7000 inmates

The Nigerian Bar Association, Yenagoa branch, International Federation of Women Lawyers ( FIDA), Bayelsa, Civil Society Organizations CSOs, and activists in Bayelsa State have called for effective implementation and monitoring of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law( ACJL) by stakeholders to reduce the number of detainees at Okaka Correctional Centre in Yenagoa.
They are also asking that efforts be intensified to facilitate speedy trial of suspects detained at the correctional centre.

Speaking during a workshop at Ayalla Hotels, Kpansia, Yenagoa, the State Capital, organized to develope strategies to combat the issue of illegal arrest and unlawful detention in the state, some respondents who lamented that the Okaka Correctional Centre was designed to host about 3000 inmates stressed that the facility was currently hosting over 7000.
They urged the ACJL Monitoring Committee in the state to ensure that arresting authorities adhered to the law.

Barrister Amaemi Bekeyei-Alaki, a representative of Nigerian Bar Association, Yenagoa branch urged the various institutions saddled with the responsibilities of working towards the achievement of the objectives of the ACJL to improve the standard of detention facilities or to facilitate speedy justice system.

Barrister Mercy Isaac Ayaowei, the Secretary of FIDA, Bayelsa State who highlighted some of the achievements of the ACJL, stated that the law had brought some improvement to the administration of criminal justice system in the state.

Accorded to her, “Before now, like the police, in particularly most times, do not allow lawyers to be present when they are taking statements from suspects. But with the ACJL, that is now achievable. Also, recording statements through videos are now allowed. Allowing women to release suspects on bail too has been achieved”.

She however frowned at some irregularities, emphasizing that their is still room for improvement.

Barrister Ken Isele who represented the Bayelsa State Department of Public Prosecution, speaking on the strategies that could lead to the achievement of the objectives of the ACJL, charged stakeholders to create more awareness and continue frequent monitoring of the detention facilities and the Okaka Correctional Centre to review cases of suspects.

Meanwhile some respondents, including activists and CSOs charged the ACJL Monitoring Committee, consisting of the Commissioner of Police, National Human Rights Commission, Commissioner for Justice, Controller, Nigerian Correctional Services, Bayelsa and Civil Society Organisations in the state to work to gather to ensure effective use of the ACJL, adding that there was need for junior police officers to be lectured on the law to reduce violations.

The ACJL, Bayelsa State was adopted in 2019 to facilitate speedy dispensation of justice for suspects, reduce illegal arrests, unlawful detentions, crowd in the Correctional and others Detention facilities.

The workshop organized by the Civic Space Watch Cluster, Bayelsa State led by Mac Jim Foundation was to reflect with stakeholders and identify advocacy issues that will lead to effective implementation of the Bayelsa ACJL.

Hi, I’m reporter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *