168 Ebonyi youths languish in Kirikiri Maximum Prisons

By Tony Edike on 12/11/2017

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Gov.  Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State
Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State

A Federal Commissioner representing SouthEast Zone in the Public Complaints Commission (PCC), Abuja,  Mr  Sampson Okorie has called on Governors in the eastern part of Nigeria to quickly consult their various state Attorneys-Generals to form a legal team that would see to the release of Igbo youths who are languishing in different prisons across the country over street trading.
 
Specifically, the federal commissioner bemoaned the fact that as at March this year, 168 Ebonyi State youths have been languishing in Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, Lagos, insisting that as a matter of fact, the traders should not have been remanded in Maximum prison since the law banning street trading in Lagos was enacted in May. 
 
“Under normal circumstance, there penalty would have been N5,000 or one-month in prison. And this happened before the enactment of the law banning street trading in Lagos,” he said.
 
Okorie, who made this revelation yesterday during the South East Economic Summit held in Enugu, however, emphasised that while the Igbo are busy discussing the economic development of the region, it was imperative that they take positive measures that would give freedom to their young ones who are suffering in several prisons across Nigeria for mere street trading. 
 
He said: “I tried to enumerate the magnitude of incarceration of southeastern states youths in different Nigerian prisons. We made visits to the major six cities in the six zones of the country – southwest, Cross River Prisons, Lagos , FCT, Imo. And the number of inmates there is very alarming. In the course of that, we did one-on-one interactions with the inmates, and we discovered that the majority of them are there for street trading which necessitated my appearance today to advise the summit’s  rapporteur to consider the very low class because in the southeast, shop trading and street trading has come to stay; is what you can’t stop.” 
 
However, he stated that there must be a protective mechanism to all those traders or there will be a means of sustaining them in whatever venture they find themselves, adding that “that’s the essence of considering them; we must consider those set of people very well.”
 
Explaining further, Okorie said: “Again, street trading means very low income capacity. Our findings again is that those people engage in street trading most times, they are unable to pay for good rent; they live in slumps, uncompleted buildings, under the bridges and such places.
 
“Now, if this summit and the southeast governors make it a very light playing field for them – either empowering them with good SME  take-off capital or making their shop rentals easy, meaning that the states need to build more market-environment and make it very affordable for them; after all, all those people on the streets don’t enjoy being on the streets.
 
“Another thing we discovered was in any crime situation, the law enforcement people tend to comb the slump environment where these traders live, and any one they apprehend, they will say he is an armed robber, meaning that majority of those also charged for armed robbery need to be investigated.”

Posted 12/11/2017 6:45:34 PM

 

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