Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel has called on the judiciary in the state to partner the police and other security agencies to ensure speedy dispensation of justice in order to decongest the prisons.
The governor made the call at a thanksgiving service in Uyo to mark the commencement of the 2016/2017 Legal Year.
Governor Emmanuel, who described the judiciary in the state as a reliable partner in the maintenance of peace and order in the state, is concerned over the slow and cumbersome procedures involved in the administration of justice.
He appealed to the Chief Judge of the state to work with the police and other security agencies to eliminate unnecessary delays in the system.
The Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Stephen Okon while addressing the same issue, said the introduction of the multi-door court system will help decongest the prisons and reduce the work load in conventional courts.
He added that the judiciary has already commenced the process to digitalize court operations in order to reduce the time spent by lawyers and judges on cases.
The General Overseer of Insight bible church, Pastor Sylvanus Ukafia admonished judges to be just in all circumstances and avoid political, ethnic and religious sentiments in the discharge of their duties.
A national problem
This issue is however not limited to Akwa Ibom State. Prison congestion has morphed into a national problem, becoming a bane of criminal justice administration in the country.
At a recent conference on prison reforms held in Abuja, discussants revealed that no less than 45,000 inmates are locked up in different categories of prisons across the country, while a staggering 30,000 inmates out of this figure are suspects awaiting trial.
Earlier this year, the Minister of Interior, retired Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazau attributed the high number of persons awaiting trial in prisons across the country to poor investigations by the police.
He said over 70 to 80 per cent of inmates across Nigerian prisons are awaiting trials.
He advised the police and other judicial officers to properly investigate cases before arresting suspects.