Stakeholders Dialogue Meeting


Thursday 22, September. 2022

Project Title: Beyond The Walls

Legend Golden Care Foundation held its stakeholder’s dialogue, themed Awaiting Trial Syndrome.


The stakeholder’s dialogue on ‘Awaiting Trial Syndrome’ was held at Grand Pella Hotel and Suites in Durumi, Abuja on Thursday the 22nd of September 2022.

The dialogue meeting engaged stakeholders from the Nigerian Correctional Service, the National Assembly, the Nigeria Bar Association, the Legal Aid Council, Media, Civil Society Organizations, and private practicing lawyers to seek further ways to tackle the challenge. It examined the impact of awaiting trial on detainees and inmates, and society at large, and advocates for the rights of detainees and inmates awaiting trial for many years in Correctional facilities across Nigeria.

During the stakeholder’s Dialogue, LGCF presented Data from the Nigerian Correctional Service which showed that out of the 76,189 inmates in Nigerian prisons, a staggering 53,710 (70%) are awaiting trial with many incarcerated in the harrowing situation for years for minor offense charges.


Giving the welcome speech, Mrs. Kanayo Olisa-Metuh, the Executive Director relayed her experience with seeking justice for her husband when he was charged and remanded in prison for months awaiting trial. She examined the privileges her husband enjoyed and the sharp contrast with the situation of the majority of inmates awaiting trial in custodial centers around the country. The challenges of these detainees and inmates she mentioned included access to adequate welfare, legal counsel, and an efficient justice system. This was what birthed this initiative. She emphasized the urgency of this issue and the need for change as the reason for this stakeholder’s dialogue.


The Executive Director stated that LGCF has been reaching out to prison inmates including the provision of food items as well as pro-bono legal services, and bewailed that thousands of Nigerians facing minor offense charges are languishing in detention for years. She lamented that such individuals “are serving jail terms for offenses they did not commit, with many held for years exceeding the maximum terms for the crimes they were charged”.

She commended the Correctional Service for its efforts, however, called for a concerted effort by all stakeholders to eliminate all bottlenecks and ensure a faster judicial process as a major step to check the awaiting trial debacle and congestion in our prison.

She noted that Legend Golden Care Foundation has been engaged in a lot of interventions to ameliorate the challenges being faced by Nigerians in our correctional centers. This Dialogue meeting is aimed at further converging stakeholders to create more awareness and seek further solutions to the challenges of awaiting trial and congestion in our prisons.

“That is why we have brought the government agencies, the National Assembly, the NBA, and other stakeholders together today for this important dialogue on the plight of awaiting trial inmates in our prisons, she said.

Presenting a summary of the policy brief titled “Awaiting Trial Syndrome”, the Program officer for LGCF on social justice and prison welfare, Barr. Ogonna Okeke highlighted key issues discussed in the document which include the salient causes of awaiting trial, the consequences and effects, and key recommendations. She as well mentioned activities like offering pro-bono services to detainees and inmates, advocacy, and psychosocial support services that the organization is handling.

Delivering an address at the meeting, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Reformatory Institution, Hon. Anayo Edwin expressed concern about the issues of overcrowding and lack of adequate facilities in Correctional Centers. He commended the Foundation for its efforts and assured that ‘the National Assembly is working hard to ensure adequate funding and oversight of correctional service in the country”.



Delivering a Goodwill Message from the Office of the Nigerian Bar Association, President Barr. Y. C Maikyau SAN, ably represented by Barr. Linda Bala expressed the need for compensation for inmates who have been wrongfully detained for many years awaiting trials before release.


Also Speaking, was the Chairman House Committee on Judiciary, Hon.  Onofiok Luke (Esq) advocated for accelerated judicial processes and adequate funding for the correctional service.


In the submission of the Assistant Controller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Mustapha Iliyasu Attah, who represented the Comptroller General, noted that the challenge of awaiting trial mostly stems from the slow judicial process. He called for an acceleration of judicial processes as well as adequate funding of Correctional Services in the country.


The key Note Lecture by Mazi Afam Osigwe SAN represented by Barr. Chukwuma Nwachukwu gave a lecture on the criminal justice system and the interlinkages between the various stakeholders responsible for ensuring that the system works and that the wheels of justice grind faster and more efficiently to protect the rights and ensure the welfare of inmates.

Other speakers at the dialogue also noted the importance of the welfare and rights of Nigerian detainees and inmates, especially those awaiting trial.

A documentary titled “Waiting for Justice: Awaiting trial in Nigeria” was premiered. It detailed the experiences of ex-detainees and ex-inmates awaiting trial for many years in correctional facilities in Nigeria before their cases were dismissed, and the experience of a family member seeking justice for an inmate currently awaiting trial for years in a correctional center.

A panel session anchored by Chief Osita Chidoka with personalities such as ACG. Mustapha Iliyasu Atta from the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), Oputa Oputa from the Center for Legal Research and Development (CLERD), Barr. Uko Etuk, representative of the National Assembly, and Ms. Abiola Ayodele from Hope Behind Bars, as members of the panel, examined the grand plans, promises, and laws that have been proclaimed with little to no implementation and the lack of visibility and accountability among the stakeholders and administrators of justice, and the need for digitizing systems among the various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies. They called on the NGOs to create check mechanisms to create visibility and accountability among administrators of justice.


The ACG. Mustapha Illiyasu Atta talked about the command’s experience with various courts and law enforcement agencies around the country that have not employed honesty and fairness in executing their duties, and have abused power leaving civilians at their mercy which has resulted in many challenges faced regarding this issue.


Various other stakeholders in attendance contributed to the discourse by highlighting the need for increased funding for the NCS. The Director of Legal Aid Council, Barr. Tunde Ikusagba addressed the indiscriminate arrest and charging of civilians by law enforcement agents, especially the police, and the falsification of information about accused persons by law enforcement agents.


To conclude, the panelists highlighted the way forward regarding this issue and commended LGCF on the timely stakeholder dialogue and the need for action to follow the strong recommendations that have been put forward. Other stakeholders from the audience also shared their opinions and attitudes, one such person was an ex-inmate Christian Picador who tendered questions to the panelist on the need to facilitate an enabling environment that actually represents the name change of the service from “prisons to correctional”, and to reopen access to inmates post-covid. The Anchor, Chief Chidoka assured the audience that the information gathered from the event will inform the upcoming programs rolled out by LGCF in partnership with all the stakeholders present. A communique was reached to be used as an advocacy document for key stakeholders.


The program manager of LGCF, Mr. Glory Nwakaogor in his closing remarks emphasized the purpose of this dialogue as a Kickstarter to a partnership that will sustain the 5-year “Beyond The Walls” project aimed at de-congesting the prison system by ensuring timely justice and adequate welfare for detainees and inmates in Nigerian correctional facilities. He expressed the need to develop a strategic plan and a monitoring plan which will guide the entire project cycle. A commitment of all stakeholders in attendance to the project “Beyond The Walls” was made.





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