NASWE Decries Increasing Number Of Inmates Awaiting Trials

....expresses bitterness over elderly people's abandonment

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The Nigerian Association of Social Work Educators (NASWE), has decried the increasing number of inmates awaiting trial in Nigerian prisons and the deplorable state of prisoners.

Stating that this is affecting the major goals of rehabilitation, reformation and reintegration of the convicted and confined criminals. 

It also raised an alarm that inability of previous and present governments to cater for the elderly people in Nigeria which has deliberately condemned them to extreme poverty, slum, ill-health, loneliness and despair.

The Association then called for total overhaul of the Nigerian prison system to make it habitable and achieve its objectives of reforming, rehabilitating and reintegration by the government.

NASWE raised the observations in a communique issued at the end of its 3rd Annual General Meeting/National Conference themed “Social Welfare Services Under A Recessive Economy in Nigeria” held at Federal University Lafia.

In the communique made available to Newsmen on Friday by its Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr. Jamal Ali Ahmed, NASWE observed that most elderly in Nigeria lack basic care which is having negative effects in their socio-economic and cultural lives. 

NASWE which is the umbrella body of lecturers in tertiary institutions offering courses in Social Work however advised that for this to be nipped, governments at all levels should adopt palliative care, support geriatric and home-based services for the elderly.

It also raised the alarm over the neglect, ignore and abuse still being experienced by Nigerian child, which very often brazenly ill-treated, noting that though, there have been some efforts in meeting the needs of the vulnerable children in vulnerable households by Governments/non-governmental organisations which are grossly inadequate. 

The association observed that “The inability of the Nigerian society to come up with welfare packages for the elderly deliberately condemns them to extreme poverty, slum, ill-health, loneliness and despair. 

It however suggested that efforts must be put in place by “The federal, state and local governments should adopt palliative care, support geriatric and home-based services for the elderly.

The communique reads in parts, “The conference observed that: The Nigerian child is still being neglected, ignored, abused and very often brazenly ill-treated. Though, there have been efforts in meeting the needs of the vulnerable children in vulnerable households by Governments/non-governmental organisations, these efforts are grossly inadequate. 

“That women are not empowered enough to contribute positively to community development. Women’s multi-purpose cooperative has not been able to meet the economic needs of women.

“The economic and educational disadvantage of women affects their ability to make reproductive decisions, and this has implications for HIV/AIDS infections.

“Accessing family planning services and utilization of contraceptives is still very difficult for women in Nigeria.

“The inability of the Nigerian society to come up with welfare packages for the elderly deliberately condemns them to extreme poverty, slum, ill-health, loneliness and despair. 

“The multiplicity of inmates awaiting trial in Nigerian prisons and the deplorable state of prisoners affects the major goals of rehabilitation, reformation and reintegration of the convicted and confined criminals. 

NASWE then recommended that, Nigerian legal framework must be strengthened for the above problems to be tackled. 

It stated that “On the basis of the issues identified above, the following recommendations were made:

“That the Nigerian legal framework be strengthened to ensure full protection of children of all ages and backgrounds, particularly the creation of family high courts and magisterial family courts in the states.

“That efforts to care, support and protect vulnerable children should not only focus on their immediate survival needs, but also on long term developmental needs that would help in reducing their vulnerability.

“That government should accept women organizations as corporate organizations and give them grants to support their development efforts.

“That women’s access and control over resources be guaranteed through education of the girl-child, skilled acquisition and wealth creation.

“Outside the removal of financial barriers to family planning services and contraceptives, campaigns on the benefit of these services should be intensified by health policy makers and women advocates.

“The federal, state and local governments should adopt palliative care, support geriatric and home-based services for the elderly.

“There should be total overhaul of the Nigerian prison system to make it habitable and achieve its objectives of reforming, rehabilitating and reintegration by the government”.

Earlier in his address while declaring the conference open the Vice Chancellor of Federal University Lafia, Professor Mohammed Sanusi Liman congratulated NASWE for their success in holding their 3rd national conference and annual general meeting. 

He thanked NASWE for their choice of Federal University Lafia as the venue of the conference, and expressed the extent to which the profession of social work is dear to his heart. 

Liman then pledged his support to ensure social work degree programme in the University earns an accreditation. 

He also urged participants to make contributions that would not only be relevant to social work profession but Nigeria as a whole, particularly in this recessive economy.

It was gathered that there were presentation of papers in the areas such as Child’s rights and privileges, Women’s contribution to community development, Women’s multipurpose cooperative society, Strategies of NGOs in meeting the needs of vulnerable children in vulnerable households. 

Others include, Women empowerment and its contribution to reproductive health decision making, Factors associated with the utilization of family, planning services, Prison rehabilitation and the plight of prisons in Nigeria and reform agenda.

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Raji Adebayo, Ibadan
Lagos Post
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