Nigeria currently has 75, 589 prisoners out of which 24, 450 are convicted while 51, 139 of them are awaiting trial, a group, the Network of University Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI), has said.
According to NULAI, more than 50 per cent of the prisoners awaiting trial are under the age of 30.
The awaiting trial inmates constitute over 70 per cent of total prison inmates, while the figure includes 1, 509 women currently in detention.
NULAI, an association created to promote access to legal sector reforms and help undergraduate public interest lawyers cultivate the tenets of the profession, gave the figure at a two-day workshop intended to track the compliance of the Kuje prisons with the requirements of the Administration of Criminal Justice ACJA, in Abuja.
The workshop held on September 19 and 20.
Explaining the reason for the high population of youth in prisons, NULAI’s monitoring and evaluation officer, Charissa Kabir, said young inmates without money or someone to support them are often forced to remain in prison for a long time.
“Once a person has been remanded in prison, bail is usually supposed to be based on certain amounts. Sometimes, N4, to N5, 000. But if these people don’t have that money, or any one to support them, they are forced to remain there for a long time,” he said.
Ms Kabir said NULAI was working to ensure that all kinds of data relating to prisoners across Nigeria are obtained by the institution and others who can contribute to change the plight of inmates in Nigerian prisons.