This shocking revelation, uncovered during a recent visit by Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, on Saturday, has prompted the cleric to appeal to the Federal Government and the administration of Governor Peter Mbah to, as a matter of urgency, decongest the centre and improve the living conditions for those incarcerated within its walls..
Chukwuma, who led a delegation from the church to the Enugu Correctional Centre, noted that the facility held 2,000 inmates, whereas it was built to hold 680 inmates.
The archbishop expressed concern about the overcrowded conditions and finding a woman with a baby and young girls among the inmates.
He said, “I feel sad to find a woman with her baby there. I also found young girls incarcerated just because they fought.
“They ought to be discharged quickly either by the Department of Public Prosecution or by the police.”
He stressed the need for the Enugu State Government and the state’s Chief Judge to visit correctional centres in the state to speedily decongest them by discharging inmates incarcerated unnecessarily.
The archbishop said the decongestion had become necessary because of the poor condition of correctional centres across the country.
“We were at the Enugu Correctional Centre as part of our regular visits during the Christmas season and also to encourage those in custody and make the love of God to manifest in their lives.
“We prayed for them and encouraged them to know that being in a correctional centre is not the end of their lives.
“We also preached to them to repent from their negative old ways.
“I feel that something must be done by every state this Christmas to grant some inmates amnesty.
“I plead with the Chief Judge of Enugu State to visit correctional centres in Enugu with judges and lawyers as we have arranged payment of fines to help indigent inmates,’’ Chukwuma said.
He also emphasised the need to give speedy attention to awaiting-trial inmates, especially those incarcerated on flimsy reasons.
The archbishop charged the Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo to ensure that custodial centres across the country got serious palliatives and attention in the 2024 budget to correct anomalies there.
He stressed that the Church had raised money to pay fines of those convicted with options of fines, but could not afford the payment.
“We, churches in Enugu State are very ready to partner with the Nigerian Correctional Service and the Ministry of Interior to make sure things go well.
“Politicians and well-meaning Nigerians should show love and concern for those in correctional centres to help them to live and to feed well.
“We went with food and other things to encourage and to show the inmates that the Church feels concerned about their situation,’’ Chukwuma said. (NAN)