Senator Gabriel Suswam (Benue East) has suggested that some leaders and politicians should be allowed to spend a day or two in prison to be better leaders and politicians.
Suswam made this suggestion last Tuesday at the plenary while contributing to a motion moved by Sen. Uche Ekwunife (Anambra Central) on ‘The need to upgrade, decongest and disinfect Correctional Centres nationwide.‘
“I want to strongly support this motion based on my personal experience of what I saw, and when I left, I recommended that for people to be proper leaders in this country, at least each and every one of us must spend one or two days in prison, we would be better human beings.
“Mr President, they took me there in the night, and the following day, which was morning, the entire prison knew that I was there.
“Mr President it might interest you to know that most of the people who spend years in prison are for a misdemeanour that you can even dismiss.
“A young man spent 7years in jail for just a problem of N10, 000, various individuals were there on very minor offences that the police could afford to correct them and send them home.
“I made it a point of duty when I left that place, for the next month, I took close to twenty of those young people out of that place.
“It didn’t take anything, it was just to pay that money and take them back to court.
“I selected about three lawyers, sent them to Kuje prison to go and attend to them, and about 20 of them were taken out.
“So, I think that I want to support the motion, because most of the people who are there do not need to be there, and they unduly congest the place”.
Suswam decried the poor state of hygiene in the correctional Centres, pointing out that they were breeding grounds for various forms of unthinkable diseases and crimes.
According to him, “when it comes to the issue of disinfecting the place, Mr President, God forbid that this COVID-19 infects any of these correctional centres in the country, Mr President it would be a calamity.
”The environment in any of the prisons here, Mr President you would be shocked if you go there; we need to as a matter of urgency ask the authorities responsible to address the issue raised in this motion with the urgency it deserves.
“So, we can be seen as a country ready to correct people rather than sending people to go and die or become more hardened,”he said
The former governor pointed out that in some parts of the world wealthy individuals and companies build correctional centres and work in collaboration with the government.
He said “in developed climes, individuals or companies build prisons and maintain them to the highest standards and government takes care of what is needed to be taken care of.
“So, let us encourage individuals who are wealthy or companies that want to engage in that business to begin to build prisons, and maintain them and give them standards, so, we will not have the situation of congestion.”
Sen. Suswam, a former governor of Benue is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for alleged N3.1 billion fraud and spent 2 days in Kuje prison.
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A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George has urged federal government to relax the lockdown it imposed on Lagos State as a result of COVID- 19 pandemic.
George, who made the call in a statement in Lagos, yesterday said the lockdown imposed since March 29 was adversely affecting livelihoods and bringing up security challenges.
He said though government intended to curb the spread of the virus with the lockdown, the directive had left many Nigerians hungry at home without palliatives.
The PDP chieftain noted that there must be a balance between curbing the spread of the virus and protecting livelihoods and asked the government to relax the lockdown while putting safety measures in place.
“Everywhere in Lagos is now locked down. The markets, banking halls, the local grocery shops, the supermarkets, the transportation services are all halted, frozen by the federal government directives since March 29.
“On the surface level, the federal government’s position is to ensure safety, prevent communal spread of the virus and banish this scourge from our shores.
“Lagosians have been staying at home for about a month now. In a largely informal economy where most of our people depend on daily wages, the burden of lack of income is devastating.
“There is a natural growing anger in Lagos as the most vulnerable are ravaged with hunger,” George said.
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