By Ahokegh T Collins
The Attorney General of Benue State and Commissioner for Justice Barr Michael Gusa has said plans are on the way to construct a spacious block of cell at the state prison office in Makurdi to ease the problem of congestion being experienced BY inmates. He made this known when the officials of Prison service led by the new controller general, Mr Peter I Pevgyo who paid him a familiarization visit in his office earlier today in Makurdi.
Earlier in his speech, Mr Pevgyo thanked the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice for promptly granting them audience to interact with him. He appreciated Barr Gusa and the government of Governor Samuel Ortom for always coming to their aid when beckoned upon, saying ministry of justice and the prisons are critical partners in the administration of criminal justice in the state, hence the visit.
The controller general however described the dwelling condition of the inmates as pathetic saying ironically that the inmates sleep as compatibly comfortable as the dead and their coffins. He explained further that a room which is supposed to house 36 inmates now accommodates 121. With this condition, he said inmates will be prone to experience an outbreak of epidemics as the raining season is gradually given way.
Pevgyo further put the number of inmates in the makurdi cell to be 1375, out of which only 299 are convicted while the rest are awaiting trials. He then called on the government of Benue state and the judiciary to speed up with prosecution of inmates awaiting trial in order to hasten the process of decongesting the cells.
Finally, the controller general prisons charged the Attorney general and commissioner for justice to work on the list given to them to ensure the inmates receive the prerogative of mercy by the government as many of them have been reformed to religious Inmans, pastors, craftsmen and what have you. He promised to reposition the prisons to do more in the area of training and reforming inmates and sued for assistance from the government in terms of tools.
In his response, the attorney general of Benue state and commissioner for justice Barr Michael Gusa thanked the team for the crucial visit and promised to implement all their demands as soon as the state's finances stabilize. Gusa stressed that already, their is a committee on ground headed by the state deputy governor in view of the block of cell, saying within a shortest possible time, the project will come to fruition to ameliorate the sufferings of the inmates.
On the state pardon of the deserved inmates, Barr Gusa stressed that the list was being scrutinized and will be soon sent to HE governor Samuel Ortom for approval and onward implementation.
Barr Gusa explained that already, the government has yielded to most of their requests by sinking boreholes for them, procurement of mattresses as well as the purchase of vehicles for their activities. He said, government can only do better to enhance their activities as soon as things improve.
He finally thanked them for the visit and assured them of government's passionate concern over the inmates and will continue to do all it takes to salvage their challenges.
The meeting was attended by all the directors of the ministry of justice as well as a powerful delegation on the side of the prisons

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