HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN THE NIGERIAN PRISON SYSTEM: A CASE STUDY OF NIGER STATE PRISON
Prisoners in Nigeria are often perceived and categorized as “outcast”. The belief of many is that, once you are a prisoner, you are automatically a “bad egg” in the society. There is an ill- conceived notion that prison inmates have no rights within the general population. The importance of this research work cannot be over emphasised as it seeks to enlighten the reader of the fact that though there are rights available and at the disposal of prisoners under the Nigerian laws, majority of prisoners, due to one cog or another are unable to have access to and make adequate use of those rights; they are even in most cases unaware of the existence of such rights. This research work shows that there are other abuses going on in our prisons apart from the congestion problem. Such relates to feeding, clothing, bedding, access to health facilities, communication etc. These rights as well as those guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 are very much alive and available to prisoners in Nigeria. The rights may be limited; but prisoners do have a degree of human and civil rights also guaranteed by international conventions and the UN Declarations. Most especially the Standard Minimum Rules for the protection of prisoners. Therefore, prisoners cannot and should not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment; they are to have full access to due process and equal protection and should not be discriminated against. So this research work, with particular reference to Niger State, to a great extent has been able to: (i) ascertain the extent of prisoners’ rights abuses and its effects on their lives in prisons in Niger State; (ii) determine the factors responsible for the abuses; (iii) examine the measures that need to be taken to incisively and concisely address all problems of prisoners rights abuses. All these have been achieved through thorough research and findings and accordingly, adequate recommendations have been proffered. The doctrinal and empirical methods of research i.e. books, journals and articles as well as administering of questionnaires was adopted to achieve the desired goal of addressing the pervasive violations of prisoners’ rights.