15 inmates regain freedom in Bauchi
FIFTEEN prisoners serving jail terms in Bauchi Prison have regained their freedom through an intervention by a Bauchi human rights group.
Addressing the prisoners yesterday at the premises of the prison, the Co-ordinator of Bauchi Human Rights Network (BHN), Mr. Sylvester Yibis, said the inmates were serving light sentences in the prison.
He said some of the inmates are to serve one year to three months imprisonment for committing crimes such as minor stealing, impersonation, and wandering the streets, among other offences.
Yibis, who was accompanied by other officials of the Network, said BHN decided to embark on the project basically to address the problem of rising physical and psychological torture of suspects and inmates.
He said: “Physical torture is normally found in detention centres of police stations within the first to three hours of arrest. It is almost hell for suspects most of whom are tortured in a bid to squeeze information from them. Psychological torture on the other hand is when inmates are remanded in prison custody for so many years while they await trial.”
He stated that the Network was collaborating with other organisations within and outside the state to ensure that ex-prisoners are trained on vocational skills that would make them self-reliant and not to return to crime.
The co-ordinator also said that the BHN was also collaborating with police and other security agencies to explore the possibilities of ensuring that the torture of suspects was completely eliminated in all centres where suspects are being detained.
One of the inmates, Bilal Abubakar, who was sentenced by a court for five months imprisonment, told The Guardian that he was convicted for stealing from his neighbour.
He said: “Today, I am shock and happy that I am going home to see my parents and my siblings. I couldn’t believe it. I want to thank this organisation for this privilege and I promise not to steal again.”
The Deputy Chief Inspector, Isa Yashi who spoke on behalf of the state Controller of the Nigeria Prisons Service, Bauchi, commended the Network for drawing up plans to ensure that the beneficiaries were self-reliant.
He said the skills they have acquired while serving their jail terms would go a long way in impacting positively on their lives, families and the society.
The inmates were later given N500 each as transport fare to their different destinations.
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