The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has said about 523 children are being detained across various prisons in Anambra State.
Nkechi Ugwuanyi, the NHRC Anambra State Coordinator, disclosed this at the Onitsha Prisons in commemoration of the African Pre-Trial Day 2019 themed: Decriminalisation of Petty and Minor Offences.
Noting that no fewer than 523 children are inmates in Awka and Onitsha prisons, Ugwuanyi said her visit to the Onitsha Prisons was to assess the situation of juveniles.
“It’s on account of these offences that NHRC is propelled to undertake this visit.
“The focus is to gather details of the inmates, whose alleged offences fall within the classification,” she said.
The NHRC Anambra State Coordinator stated that the assessment and subsequent reform of the juvenile crime system would benefit a lot of child inmates in the long run.
“Decriminalisation of petty offences is expected to reduce the challenges that pre-trial detention poses on the prison system and society.
“We encourage stakeholders to effect the law, policy and practice of reforms,” she said.
Also speaking, Jerry Mazi, Deputy Controller of Onitsha Prisons, called for alternative punishment for juveniles that committed offences rather than remanding them in prison custodies.